The effect of temperature and light intensity on rate of strawberry fruit ripening

C. Twitchen, M.A. Else, P. Hadley
Accurate yield forecasting is essential to strawberry growers as inaccurate predictions in the supply of fresh Class 1 produce can result in a substantial loss of revenue. Improved forecasting benefits growers, retailers and consumers by improving the consistency of supply, leading to better pricing and reduced waste. For strawberry, a reliable method for predicting the cropping profile is required particularly in polytunnel crops subjected to changeable weather over the growing season. However, the effect of environmental conditions such as temperature and light intensity on the growth and development of the crop is not yet fully understood. In this study two experiments were conducted over the summer of 2017 and 2018 with the aim of modelling the effect of temperature and light on the rate of fruit ripening of several June-bearing and everbearing strawberry cultivars currently widely grown in the UK. Tray plants were grown at a range of temperatures in a suite of temperature-controlled glasshouse compartments under ambient light levels and also with 62% shade in 2018. Individual flowers were tagged at opening and the number of days to berry maturity was recorded. The reciprocal of time to fruit ripening (the rate of ripening) increased linearly with mean temperature indicating a thermal time relationship between temperature and fruit maturity period. Rate of fruit ripening also declined in the shaded treatment across all temperatures. The results are discussed in the context of developing a yield forecasting tool for strawberry growers.
Twitchen, C., Else, M.A. and Hadley, P. (2021). The effect of temperature and light intensity on rate of strawberry fruit ripening. Acta Hortic. 1309, 643-648
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2021.1309.92
yield forecast, yield prediction, crop forecasting, fruit development rate

Acta Horticulturae