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Sustainable Soil Management for Stawberries


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2014 National Sustainable Strawberry Initiative Project Leader Meeting

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Sustainable Soil Management for Stawberries

  1. 1. Amanda L. McWhirt PhD Student, Dept. of Crop Science Sustainable Soil Management Practices for Strawberries: Evaluation of Individual and Integrated Approaches Dr. Michelle Schroeder-Moreno Dept. of Crop Science, NC State University Asst. Director of Educational Programs, CEFS
  2. 2. Sustainable Strawberry Production Begins with Increasing Soil Health • High susceptibility to soil borne diseases • System dependent on fumigation that diminishes beneficials in addition to pests • Unhealthy soils can lead to more pesticide and fertilizer inputs • Healthy soils can improve strawberry growth and yield over the long term. With fumigation restrictions increasing, there is a critical need for sustainable pest and soil management for both conventional and organic strawberry producers
  3. 3. Project Overview • Priority Area: – “improving soil quality and health in the production system for succeeding crops”. – “reducing chemical inputs for soil sterilization, fertilization, weed control and pest management”. Target Area: Soil health challenges in NC and SE strawberry production
  4. 4. Addressing the Priority Areas Objective 1. • Examine the individual and integrated effects of the sustainable soil and pest management practices in conventionally fumigated and non-fumigated systems, on strawberry yields, growth, nutrient uptake, fruit quality, above- ground arthropod pests, soil quality and economic indicators. Objective 2. • Promote the transfer of technical and educational knowledge of these practices in strawberry production systems among farmers, extension agents, researchers and students.
  5. 5. Outcomes • Research • Extension – Demonstration Video – Webinar – Conference Presentations – Extension Publication – Media Outreach
  6. 6. Research • Built off previous research from our NCSU multidisciplinary team • Application to fumigated systems? • Need to make recommendations to both conventional and organic strawberry growers in our region • Specific impacts in each of their production systems. Current Experiment: – Compost – Cover Crops – Beneficial Soil inoculants • Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi • Vermicompost – Individually and in Combinations under both fumigated and non-fumigated plasticulture
  7. 7. Research • Bullets go here
  8. 8. Extension Demonstration Video
  9. 9. Webinar March 11th, 2014 Presenters: Dr. Hannah Burrack Dr. Michelle Schroeder- Moreno Amanda McWhirt
  10. 10. Webinar Impacts • 87.5% of participants said it is “likely” they will implement a sustainable practice in the coming year (2014-2015)
  11. 11. Conference Presentations Mid-American Strawberry Growers Conference February 2014 Soil Health Presentation, Dr. Schroeder-Moreno Soil Quality and Health Presentations, Dr. Schroeder-Moreno NC Strawberry Association NC Strawberry Association
  12. 12. Extension Publication Currently in final production, Stay tuned! Outlines sustainable soil management practices (compost, cover crops, inoculants), IPM, planning production schedule
  13. 13. Media Outreach • Use of various outlets to reach growers in our region
  14. 14. Project Impact • Directly Increased: – Grower awareness and understanding of soil health in strawberry production – Increased likelihood to implement sustainable practices in the coming production cycle (2014-2015) • Predict to make better recommendations to growers about the incorporation of sustainable practices, resulting in increases to soil health
  15. 15. On Going Impacts • Planned collaboration with growers to implement these practices on-farm • 2nd field season of Research Project • Continued outreach/ education through various media outlets • Release of Extension Publication • Further increases to soil health and reductions in chemical inputs resulting from increased implementation of sustainable practices
  16. 16. Thank you for the support! Email: