Top tips for strawberry crops

Five pointers from Biobest for a top harvest

30/07/2020 - The time has come for many strawberry growers to replant their crops. New plants are being brought out of cold storage and planted up in glasshouses. At Biobest we are known for developing and closely monitoring biological crop protection and pollination strategies, however, we also like to think a bit more widely; here are five top tips for growers about to start with new plants.

1. Learn from previous years

First take a look at what you learnt in previous years. You can draw quite a few useful conclusions from this information. This can help you anticipate likely events so the same problems are less likely to arise again, or at least you will be better prepared for them. For instance, a frequently recurring pest is spider mite, which often appears during warmer weather in September / October. Feltiella-System is one of the most efficient ways of controlling this.

2. Conduct a trial planting

Planting a trial batch of 20 to 25 strawberry plants early - while the previous crop is being harvested - can teach you a lot about how these new plants will react to the variables in the greenhouse, helping you be better prepared. For instance, by knowing how quickly the flowers will appear helps you to estimate how quickly bumblebees can be introduced for pollination. A small trial can also help evaluate whether there is a high pest and disease risk and specifically which ones to look out for. Scenarios observed during this trial planting often return later in the actual crop.

3. Choose comfort for your bumblebees

Bumblebees are a catalyst for production and through natural pollination get the whole process going. However, be mindful that temperatures can rise considerably in the summer months. To compensate, Biobest bumblebee hives come with a ventilation system; the lids can be opened and an additional opening in the sides aids the flow of fresh air. Adequate ventilation helps ensure the conditions for the bumblebees remain pleasant, even when temperatures rise. Rather than wasting energy cooling down, the bumblebees will fly out more and longer – helping optimise pollination.  

4. Leave nothing to chance when scouting

Monitoring your crops remains crucial, even when everything seems to be going according to plan. Yellow sticky traps should be checked regularly; the earlier you detect a pest, the more efficient the intervention. Our Crop-Scanner app is an interesting new addition for early detection and visualization of pests and diseases based on regular counts. With this application, crop workers can register scout data via their smartphone or tablet, while the Biobest advisor can follow the situation online. Even before the advisor visits, they are up-to-date. It also makes looking back at data from previous years easier and more comprehensive.

5. Avoid recurring errors

We recommend you evaluate and re-evaluate. Make a note of everything and pass on as much data as possible to your Biobest advisor. You certainly don't want to repeat any mistakes. Your Biobest advisor will be happy to help and the Crop-Scanner can simplify the administration. The more data you pass on from the glasshouse, the better our advisors can help you to make a report for use in subsequent seasons. The period just before harvest, when the temperature in the glasshouse decreases slightly, is ideal for this. This report will provide invaluable guidance for the next crop.    

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