Strawberry crops – optimising quality and yield the proven biological way
Roadmap to Sustainable Growing
With the scientific name Fragaria x ananassa, strawberries belong to the Rosaceae family. While technically an herbaceous perennial, as the leaves dieback in winter, commercial strawberries are generally treated as an annual crop. Most plants are either short-day varieties (June bearers) or day-neutral varieties (ever-bearers).
Biological products are the way forward and as such have become an essential component in the cultivation of sustainable, quality strawberry crops worldwide.
Our skilled technical advisors are here to help you get the most from your pollination strategies and integrated pest management (IPM) programmes, tailoring them to the specific needs of your crop. We set out to deliver the best possible return on investment.
Our team will help you:
- optimise crop quality, yield and cost-effectiveness
- comply with strict regulations
- meet consumer demands for residue-free crops
- provide long term sustainable solutions
- prevent pests and diseases building up resistance to the limited range of chemical crop protection products available.
Ultimately this delivers benefits, including:
- higher value crops – premium products
- greater range of market opportunities
- improved safety for crop workers, consumers and the environment.
Prevention and monitoring
Prevention is the first building block for an effective IPM programme. Following best practice, where possible you should aim to start with a pest-free crop; employ good hygiene measures; and maintain an environment favourable to healthy plant growth.
The next building block is preventative biological control. Where appropriate, you should establish a ‘standing army’ of beneficials forming the first line of defense.
You need to regularly scout and monitor strawberry crops for pests and diseases. While helping to detect issues as early as possible, it enables the biological balance (population of pests and beneficials) to be closely monitored. As a result, data-driven informed decisions can be made regarding the most appropriate control strategies. Working with Biobest you can rest assured you have access to the latest labour-saving cost-efficient technologies and high-tech scouting options.
Being effective pollinators of strawberry flowers, bumblebees deliver multiple benefits:
- increased fruit yields – higher fruit set and larger strawberries
- improved fruit quality – properly pollinated flowers produce larger fruits with fewer deformities, a deeper red colour and with enhanced flavour
- better shelf life – bumblebee pollination improves shelf life due to the positive effect on fruit firmness. In addition, bumblebee pollination reduces the sugar-to-acid ratio and improves colour – due to higher levels of antioxidants (anthocyanins), which can also benefit shelf life.
Bumblebees are more effective pollinators than honeybees as they
- fly at very low temperatures, well below 15°C minimum required by honeybees
- uniquely make circles in the middle of the flowers – improving pollination.
At Biobest we offer a wide range of bumblebee hives
When pests or diseases start to build up beyond a tolerable threshold, you’ll need curative biocontrol solutions. These can take the form of programmed introductions of macroorganisms (such as beneficial insects, mites and nematodes) or biopesticides (based on natural substances and microbials). Tailored to the situation in your crop, our technical advisors can recommend the most appropriate products and rates to use.
Should the pest-to-beneficial balance be disrupted, a corrective treatment may be required, ideally using a bio-rational pesticide. Only as a last resort do we recommend localised spraying of a conventional pesticide. Where possible, it should be compatible with biocontrol agents, i.e. selective and with short persistence. To reduce the risk of resistance, growers should not repeatedly rely on the same pesticide or pesticide group.
Our knowledgeable team is eager to advise you!