Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New research informs California strawberry production practices

Date:
October 21, 2013
Source:
American Society for Horticultural Science
Summary:
Scientists monitored fertilization and irrigation management practices in 26 fall-planted annual strawberry fields in California. Controlled-release fertilizer rate trials indicated that routine use of high CRF rates was not an efficient practice; the researchers suggested that reducing CRF rates, particularly in heavier textured soils that are less easily leached, could substantially improve nitrogen use efficiency.

In the coastal valleys of central California, where more than 80% of the United States' strawberry crops are grown, there is developing concern about the impact of these vast production systems on groundwater contamination. According to a study published in the August 2013 issue of HortScience, changes in growers' cultural practices and the introduction of new cultivars has increased strawberry yields in the region by 140% during the past 50 years. But as crop yields have increased, water quality has diminished; water quality monitoring in these coastal valleys has shown that groundwater often exceeds Federal drinking water standards. Strawberry growers are facing increasing regulatory pressure to improve their management practices in order to protect groundwater.

Looking for ways to help strawberry producers address these critical issues, Thomas Bottoms and Timothy Hartz from the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of California, Davis, along with Michael Cahn and Barry Farrara of the University of California Cooperative Extension in Salinas, studied nitrogen (N) fertilization and irrigation management practices in fall-planted annual strawberry (Fragaria x ananassa Duch.) fields. Their multidimensional research was designed to determine soil mineral nitrogen, monitor irrigation applied, and estimate crop evapotranspiration. They also surveyed growers regarding their nitrogen (N) fertilization practices. "Our primary objective was to document plant and soil nitrogen dynamics (in annual strawberry production) under the environmental conditions and current grower management practices of the central coast region of California," said corresponding author Timothy Hartz. "Additionally, we evaluated strawberry response to preplant controlled-release fertilizer (CRF) application rates in three commercial field trials."

The researchers determined that strawberry biomass nitrogen accumulation showed a consistent pattern across fields with limited N accumulation from fall transplanting through March, followed by a consistent rate of crop N uptake through the rest of the production season. "Our research determined that current nitrogen fertilization practices did not efficiently match the crop N uptake pattern observed," Hartz said. He explained that in California's central coastal region, most strawberry fields are planted after vegetable crops. "These fields typically have significant residual soil mineral nitrogen. Therefore, justification for preplant controlled-release fertilizer (CRF) in this production system appeared to be to ensure N availability throughout the winter, when NO3-N leaching by rainfall is possible. However, the replicated trials showed that preplant CRF rates had a minimal effect on strawberry nitrogen accumulation through the June sampling, by which time the vast majority of controlled-release fertilizer nitrogen had been released."

The researchers' evaluation of irrigation practices showed that efficient drip irrigation management was demonstrated in many fields. "In only one of the nine highest-yielding fields was seasonal irrigation more than 120% of evapotranspiration. The consistency of crop N uptake over the spring and summer provided a guideline for N fertigation. Adjusting for higher fruit yield potential under California conditions, this supports prior research that found N fertigation averaging 0.5 to 0.9 kg/ha per day to be adequate for peak production."

"Our results suggest several ways in which N management could be improved in this production system," the authors wrote. "The replicated controlled-release fertilizer (CRF) rate trials indicated that routine use of high CRF rates was not an efficient practice. Reducing CRF rates, particularly in heavier textured soils that are less easily leached, could substantially improve N use efficiency."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Society for Horticultural Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Michael D. Cahn and Barry F. Farrara. Crop and Soil Nitrogen Dynamics in Annual Strawberry Production in California. HortScience, October 2013

Cite This Page:

American Society for Horticultural Science. "New research informs California strawberry production practices." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 October 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131021115734.htm>.
American Society for Horticultural Science. (2013, October 21). New research informs California strawberry production practices. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131021115734.htm
American Society for Horticultural Science. "New research informs California strawberry production practices." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131021115734.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Boy Attacked by Shark in Florida

Boy Attacked by Shark in Florida

Reuters - US Online Video (July 24, 2014) An 8-year-old boy is bitten in the leg by a shark while vacationing at a Florida beach. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 24, 2014) The eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, mainly known for conflict and instability, is an unlikely place for the production of fine cheese. But a farm in the village of Masisi, in North Kivu is slowly transforming perceptions of the area. Known simply as Goma cheese, the Congolese version of Dutch gouda has gained popularity through out the region. Ciara Sutton reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dogs Appear To Become Jealous Of Owners' Attention

Dogs Appear To Become Jealous Of Owners' Attention

Newsy (July 23, 2014) A U.C. San Diego researcher says jealousy isn't just a human trait, and dogs aren't the best at sharing the attention of humans with other dogs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Professor Creates Site Revealing Where People's Cats Live

Professor Creates Site Revealing Where People's Cats Live

Newsy (July 23, 2014) ​It's called I Know Where Your Cat Lives, and you can keep hitting the "Random Cat" button to find more real cats all over the world. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile: iPhone Android Web
          Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins