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  • Andrew Meiers

    June 27, 2021 at 4:39 am

    Conventional growers here have two crops of their strawberries over the season. The plants produce throughout although their is traditionally a lull after the spring to summer crop. Then there is often a pruning time after the heat of summer and a fruit set for the second crop.

    We are looking at things a little differently now, as we look forward. Earlier nutritional applications to ensure the levels are topped up and better analysis from regular sap testing is certainly on the cards. We hope to avoid the depletion from the heavy load of the spring crop with the data from the few sap tests from last year. It seems like we had let the resources run low as the crop drained the resources from the field. More volume and regularity led to an increased length of quality production in our autumn crop.

    Our pruning is a light hand prune after the spring /summer crop. Only old leaves and runner growth, no thinning of crowns. Apparently the more labour efficient method is a finishing mower over the plants above the crown height.

    I tried this on one field a couple years back,not very successfully.

    We increased our space between plants to allow for better air flow and area for growth , hoping it may also help picking by reducing the search through the thick foliage. There was a study done that explained the relationship of leaf volume to fruit production, so with the conventional spacing of 30cm we found that our older plants became like a matted row. The heavy foliage made it slower for pruning and picking.

    Our labour cost is very high, paying by the hour, superannuation and a minimum wage increase this year etc

    Multiple crowns in the second year, 6 plus make for a dense plant.

    When i do my pre season prune i will update the info on crown density.