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Organic Strawberries with Paul & Sandy Arnold
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Organic Strawberries with Paul & Sandy Arnold

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  • 1. Organic Strawberry Production Paul & Sandy Arnold November 2013
  • 2. Pleasant Valley Farm Argyle, New York
  • 3. PAUL & SANDY FAMILY FARM ENVISIONED BOTH FROM SUBURBIA DRIVE TO BE SELF-EMPLOYED
  • 4. ROBERT • Born in Nov 1992 • Age 20 • Now full-time local College-Computers • Helps summers & Sat Markets in Winter • Great with Equipment
  • 5. KIM • Born Dec 1995 • Now 17 • Senior in HS & College • Homeschooled • Helps run farm 20 to 60 hours per week+ • Markets every Saturday
  • 6. • 5 Acres Mixed Diverse Vegetables • ½ Acre Large Fruits • ¼ Acre Small Fruits (Blueberries, Strawberries) • Perennials & Herbs From Seed • 3-4 Acres Cover Crops • Sell at 3 local weekly farmers’ markets in summer & two Saturday winter markets • Hay fields used by local Beefalo farmer
  • 7. • Diversity of Vegetable Crops • Large Fruit: Apples, Pears, Cherries, Plums • Small Fruit: Blueberries, Strawberries FRUIT & VEGETABLE CROPS
  • 8. BENEFITS OF NO WEEDS • • • • • • • • • HEALTHIER CROPS FEWER DISEASES REDUCED INSECTS DECREASED FERTILIZER INPUTS INCREASED PICKING EFFICIENCY OF CASH CROPS HIGHER CASH CROP YIELDS REDUCED IRRIGATION NEED INCREASED WORKER MORALE INCREASED PROFITS
  • 9. • Organic Matter • 100% Weed Control • Moisture Retention • Prevents Soil Erosion • Keep Roots Cooler • Clean Crops • Disease Suppression • Workers and crates clean
  • 10. 2006 JOHN DEERE 5325 67 HP
  • 11. FIRST STRAWBERRY SYSTEM: MATTED ROW
  • 12. Straw Mulch • Purchased straw should be weed free and not have rye seed in it • Straw is purchased and stored so we have it when needed • Best to order early and secure the crop • We request ours be cut prior to pollen MULCHING CROPS
  • 13. SPREAD STRAW OR HAY MULCH 4-6” THICK ON AREA Spread out after fertilizer amendments/prep
  • 14. • PLANT BARE ROOT STRAWBERRY PLANTS 12” APART APPROX MAY 1ST-15TH • SUPPLEMENT EACH HOLE WITH COMPOST/NUTRIENTS IF NEEDED • IRRIGATE MATTED ROW
  • 15. Matted Row • PLANTS RUNNER AND FILL OUT THE AREA • NO WEEDS
  • 16. AUTUMN-ROTOTILL 2’ PATHS TO NARROW BEDS
  • 17. COVER WITH WEED-FREE STRAW IN NOVEMBER
  • 18. SPRING: RAKE STRAW INTO PATHS AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE-WEED IF ANY
  • 19. ROW-COVER TO PROTECT BLOSSOMS 1-3 LAYERS
  • 20. SELL TO ALL THE WAITING CUSTOMERS FOR 4+ WEEKS—ALL VARIETIES
  • 21. ANNUAL BED SYSTEM • History • Through the season of incorporating strawberries • Soil and Bed Preparation • Plugs vs Tips • Planting and Management • Marketing and Profit • Soil Management and Crop Rotation • Summary
  • 22. HISTORY-CALIFORNIA SYSTEM CONFERENCE—TRY IT!!
  • 23. CHANDLER VARIETY Mulch either Matted Row or Annual Bed ANNUAL BED STRAWBERRY SYSTEM
  • 24. •Winter Rye or Winter Rye/Vetch In the spring A YEAR OF THE FIELD WITH ANNUAL BED SYSTEM
  • 25. • Farmall 400 • Gehl Flailchopper • Chop Hay Fields or Winter Rye in Spring CAN CHOP OFF OR LEAVE ON THE FIELD
  • 26. Chisel Plows • Fast • Better for soil • 2 foot • Every year • Different points PRIMARY TILLAGE
  • 27. Rye has an allelopathic affect on seeds— prevents seeds from germinating Turn under rye 2 to 3 weeks before planting cash crop seeds
  • 28. Soil Tests • Take Annually to track progress • Pick a lab and stay with them — A&L Labs has great reference book • Take sample same time every year • Be accurate in sampling—Soil probe is a good tool to own SOIL HEALTH
  • 29. Soil Tests • Amend as needed or get custom fertilizers (2 opinions) • Know how to calculate what is needed • Know crop needs (Knott’s Handbook) • Each Lab is individual • Logan-extra micronutrients • Extension-Resource SOIL HEALTH
  • 30. MAKE A DECISION ON THE FIELD: 1. PLANT A CASH CROP 2. PLANT A COVER CROP 3. CAN MAYBE DO BOTH FIELD NOT NEEDED TILL SEPT 1ST
  • 31. SPRING PLANT • Lettuce • Spinach • Arugula • Beans TRANSPLANTING OR SEEDING-CASH CROPS IN AND OUT QUICKLY
  • 32. OR…. COVER CROP SEED IN SPRING
  • 33. • Summer • Smothers weeds • Bees love it BUCKWHEAT
  • 34. FIRST SYSTEM FOR ANNUAL BED MAKE HILLS WITH 16” DISKS
  • 35. 2 PASSES TO MAKE LARGER HILLS
  • 36. PURCHASED PLUGS3500=.13 ACRE Plugs: 22 cents each + $150 shipping
  • 37. • Mulch as always • Lay out using marker stick • 2 rows per hill • 12” between plants in row • Plant early Sept
  • 38. PLANT WITH COMPOST/SOYBEAN MEAL
  • 39. IRRIGATE AND LET THEM GROW!
  • 40. ROWCOVER ON WHEN 30’S OFF IN SPRING AT 10% BLOOM
  • 41. ADD FERTILITY IF NEEDED IN APRIL—OFTEN FOLIAR
  • 42. ROWCOVER FOR FROST PROTECTION
  • 43. BEAUTIFUL MULTIPLE CROWNING-OPEN SPACING
  • 44. HARVEST CLEAN WEED-FREE BERRIES
  • 45. VERY PRODUCTIVE—HARVEST ABOUT 4 WEEKS TRIALED OTHER VARIETIES—CHANDLER BEST
  • 46. FEW DISEASES—TURN UNDER IN JULY
  • 47. Pests • Clipper • Tarnish Plant Bug • Slugs
  • 48. WHAT WE DO NOW!! RAISED BED SYSTEM
  • 49. PROS & CONS • • • • • TIPS Per plant less $ Greenhouse time Preparation time Better Quality Yields? • • • • PLUGS Per plant more $ Come ready to plant Quality issues Yields?
  • 50. TIPS: $15 PER 1000 + $50 SHIPPING
  • 51. • Our own tips • Purchased tips Lareault Nursery in Canada www.lareault.com TIP PRODUCTION
  • 52. • Root Shield • Actinovate Hook in TIP PRODUCTION
  • 53. Organic Soil Mix: 4 buckets (5gal) compost 4 buckets (5 gal) horticultural grade peat moss 1 ½ buckets of perlite 4# organic fertilizer 5-3-4 *Test soil mix for pH and salts and nutrients *Test greenhouse water for pH *Work with professionals if issues GREENHOUSE
  • 54. Winstrip Trays • Winstrips: 72, 50 • Special orders only • Very durable • Great air circulation • Direct Seed or Transplant into • Contact us to get on the list for future trays if interested GREENHOUSE
  • 55. Good Investment Efficient Inexpensive MISTING SYSTEM
  • 56. HANDMADE POPPER
  • 57. PREPARE SOILS • Fertilize as necessary • Long term SOIL HEALTH
  • 58. • • • • • • • • • Corn based Saved weeding Reduced straw usage Warmed soil Breaks down Conserves water Comes 4’ or 5’ .6 mil OMRI approval CLOSE! New OMNI paper mulch? BIO-TELO
  • 59. • Basic Brand • Adjustments • Drip vs overhead irrigation • Limited HP needed RAISED BED/PLASTIC LAYER
  • 60. NOW MULCHING JUST BETWEEN PLASTIC! Teagle Tomahawk Round Bale Chopper
  • 61. KNOW YOUR SOURCE---NO SEED—TEST!
  • 62. PROBLEMS--NO SEED—TEST!
  • 63. EDGE CUSTOM CHUTE
  • 64. CUSTOM CHUTE
  • 65. MYCORRHIZAE • Mycorrhizae.com • Beneficial Fungi • Not for Brassicas • Fertilizer • Humates • Compost Tea • Biologicals WATERWHEEL GREAT FOR DIRECT AMENDMENTS
  • 66. WATER WHEEL WITH NUTRIENTS IN TANK
  • 67. Drip Irrigation • Uses less water • Good for permanent crops like blueberries, raspberries, asparagus • Long season crops under black plastic • Requires filter • Produces garbage and continual expense • Hard to keep up in an extreme drought • Great for tunnels Overhead Irrigation • Uses more water • Gets seeds started • Requires filter sometimes • More efficient at getting transplants watered in • More expensive initially • Good for cover crops IRRIGATION
  • 68. Irrigation • Critical after planting and all fall • Again in spring • Berries need lots of water • PLANTS NEED THE WATER AROUND ROOTS TO ENABLE EXCHANGE OF NUTRIENTS IRRIGATION
  • 69. ROW COVER FOR WINTER TYPAR-DEER VOLES-MOLES
  • 70. ROW COVER FOR FROST PROTECTION 1-3
  • 71. NETTING FOR BIRDS
  • 72. TURN UNDER AFTER THE 4 WEEKS OF PRODUCTION—NO WEEDS!
  • 73. WE USE THAT HIGH ORGANIC MATTER SPOT FOR OUR FALL LETTUCES. STARTING 8/1
  • 74. • Rotate families • Break insect & disease cycles • 3-4 Year minimum ROTATION IS KEY
  • 75. MARKET PREP IS OUR BIGGEST EXPENSE • To manage it, we use a system to evaluate the workers and our techniques to see how we can improve profit • We want to know the total time it takes the employees to harvest, wash, and pack an item to be sold at the market. • We use a simple TIMING RECORD SHEET to figure this out…done only a few times each year. .
  • 76. • We want each worker to be earning us a minimum of $40 per hour while working on the harvest days! • Example: Beans An average picker can pick, wash & pack 25 pounds per hour. At $3.50 per pound, the value is $87.50 per hour and falls within our limits for profitability. $40 PER HOUR RULE +++
  • 77. Data gathered only 2 or 3 times each year during harvest day to get data on all crops ITEM BEANS @ $4/# 3:15 END QUANTITY 3:45 12 bags JOB DESCRIPTION TOTAL TOTAL VALUE INITIALS BASIL-BAG @$7 START VALUE TIME PER HOUR pick/bag SH & TJ $84 1 $84 10:00 11:15 30# pick TJ 10:00 11:15 38# pick PA 11:15 11:30 68# total wash,crate HR $272 2.75 $99 Pick, wash,crate-PA $375 1.5 250 BLUEBERRY @ 3.50 9:10 AM 10:40 AM 30 (1/2pts) Picking & to cooler TJ $105 1.5 $70 RASPBERRY @3.50 Picking & to cooler PJ $66.50 1.5 $44 LETTUCE @ $2.50 7:00 9:30 8:30 150 Heads 11:00 19 (1/2 pts) All times for picking, washing,crating, bunching, etc. would be totalled then divided into total value. Example: Basil @$7=$84 worth readied in 1 hour (2 workers 1/2 hour each), therefore $84/hour Example: Beans Total of 68# readied in 2.75 hours; Value @$4/pound=$272; 272/2.75=$99 Example: Blueberries @ $3.50 =$105 worth picked in 1 1/2 hours, therefore $70/hour Example: Raspberries @ $3.50 =$66.50 worth picked in 1 1/2 hours, therefore $66.50/1.5=$44/hour Example: Lettuce Total was 150 heads readied in 1.5 hours by Paul only=$375; $375/1.5hr=$250 per hour!!
  • 78. WHAT WE LEARN FROM THIS • Who are the best workers for the task • What crop is costing us the most to prepare THEN: • What can we change • Who is chosen for future jobs • What equipment is needed
  • 79. RECORDS • Very Important • Simple notebook • We would not know what techniques and crops make us the most profit if we didn’t keep records of them Seeding Date: 6/8/10 Field: Main A Emu spinach 400’ (PJ #17) B-C Bolero carrot 800’ (EW carrot plate) Field: North A-B Merlin Beet 800’ C Isar Y Bean 200’ (EW beet plate) D Jade G Bean 400’ (Jang bean plate) HARVEST RECORDS
  • 80. $10,000 PER ACRE RULE 1998 Extrapolating out the gross value per acre: Example: Strawberries Income = 1789 pints @$3/pint = $5,367 Field Space = 6,900 square feet Acres planted = 6,900/43,560 = .158 acre Extrapolation: $5,367/.158 = $33,968 per acre *1998 Yield=13,350 pounds/acre
  • 81. $20,000 PER ACRE RULE 2013 Extrapolating out the gross value per acre: Example: Strawberries Income = 2573 pts @$4.50/pint = $11,000 Field Space = 7,000 square feet Acres planted = 7,000/43,560 = .16 acre Extrapolation: $11,000/.16 = $69,000 per acre *2013 Yield=16,250 pounds/acre
  • 82. FREEZING SECONDS FOR THE OTHER 48 WEEKS OF THE YEAR!!
  • 83. THANKS AND HAVE A GREAT 2014 SEASON! Hawaii 2006 Alaska, Glacier 2011

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