|Authors: ||J. Fernandez-Salvador, E. Chernoh, C. Bobo-Shisler|
|Keywords: ||Fragaria × ananassa, survey, production practices, pest management, fertility, irrigation, markets|
Oregon is the fourth largest strawberry producer in the USA with fruit grown primarily for processing.
Despite crop growth at the national level, total acreage and production is declining in-state and the needs of producers have changed.
The objective of this study is to provide an overview of the current state of the strawberry industry in Oregon and identify the primary needs and challenges of growers.
In 2018-2019, in-person interviews were conducted, and both qualitative and quantitative data were collected and analysed.
Growers surveyed included organic and conventional, fresh market and processing, and large and small.
Seventeen growers were interviewed, accounting for 37% of the estimated planted area in 2018 and with the average strawberry planting being 10 ha.
Of the producers surveyed, 46% reported selling only to the fresh market, 27% only to processing, and 27% to both.
Both June-bearing and day-neutral cultivars were commonly grown by state producers depending on their market target.
Production practices varied greatly, with 37% of farmers growing on raised beds, 44% on flat ground, and 19% utilizing both, while 44% of respondents use overhead irrigation, 25% using drip, and 31% using both.
Fifteen out of 16 growers collect soil samples prior to planting, while only 2 out of 10 take tissue samples.
The most concerning pests and diseases were slugs (multiple species), spotted wing drosophila (Drosophila suzukii), lygus bug (Lygus spp.), grey mould (Botrytis cinerea), powdery mildew (Podosphaera aphanis), and root rots.
The greatest challenges expressed by growers were labour costs and availability, market access, pest control and soil/plant fertility.
The most mentioned research needs for growers were cultivar development and evaluation for both markets, pest and nutrient/fertility management.
The study findings confirm the need for innovative research for a changing industry and may prioritize extension programming and support for the sustainability and future of strawberry production in Oregon.
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