Thursday, September 19, 2013

2013 Strawberry Trial

Size is compared to a quarter.
A trial to compare matted row strawberry varieties was initiated May 11, 2012, with the planting of 8 different matted row strawberries at the land lab at John Wood Community College in Quincy, IL. Varieties included: Galletta, AC Wendy, Earliglow, Honeoye, Daroyal, Darselect, Donna, and Jewel. The objective was to compare standard early (Earliglow), mid (Honeoye) and late (Jewel) season varieties with newer varieties.

Standard tillage and fertility practices for matted row strawberry production were followed, and bare root dormant plants were set on May 11.  Plants were spaced 18” apart in rows 4’ apart with a row length of 20’. There were 4 replications. During the course of the summer of 2012, standard practices were followed: flowers were removed, weed control was used (herbicides as well as hand weeding), and trickle irrigation was provided when necessary throughout the summer.  At the end of November straw was spread.

Straw was removed on April 9, 2013, and a Captan/Topsin fungicide program was followed at regular intervals.  A cooler-than-normal spring followed, and harvest did not begin until June 6.  A 6-foot length of row was harvested, and yields were extrapolated to a per-acre basis.

The cool spring delayed straw removal as well as first harvest. The harvest season was somewhat short, with the first picking of the early-maturity berries on June 6, and the last picking of the late season varieties occurring on June 27. Six foot of row was harvested, and the plants were picked very clean, much cleaner than commercial operations would have allowed for in some instances (the last two pickings of the early maturity varieties required 80-100 berries to fill a quart box). Very little disease or insect pressure was noted.  After the final picking, renovation included fertilizing and tilling to narrow the beds. Trickle irrigation was used as necessary throughout the summer.
More detailed information on results is available here.

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