SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – The Cal Poly Strawberry Center highlighted more than a dozen farm research projects at its highest-attended Strawberry Field Day. Members of the California Strawberry Commission and more than 400 strawberry growers, researchers, and industry representatives were in attendance and learned about the program’s efforts to improve California’s multi-billion dollar strawberry industry.
The event is the largest research and education event for the California strawberry industry. “The Field Day brings together technology providers, growers, nurseries, pest control advisers, and research scientists to learn about the latest research and developments on the issues affecting the industry,” said California Strawberry Commission President Rick Tomlinson. “Rising costs and tight labor are the two biggest challenges facing California strawberry growers. The collaboration between the Commission and Strawberry Center is a model of modernizing applied research in a way that helps the industry to become more profitable and sustainable long-term,” added Tomlinson.
In 2021, the Field Day had 300 people in attendance at the in-person event. “We’re excited to host our sixth annual Field Day event with all the opportunities for networking and hands-on learning for attendees,” said Cal Poly Strawberry Center Director Gerald Holmes.
The Field Day included presentations on the latest findings from the Center’s three central research departments: entomology, pathology, and automation. The entomology team highlighted management of pests such as Lygus bugs, spider mites, and thrips. The pathology team showcased host resistance studies against Macrophomina crown rot and Verticillium wilt, diagnostics, pathogenicity tests, and fungicide efficacy results against Botrytis fruit rot and powdery mildew. The automation team featured autonomous UV-C platforms, an autonomous runner cutter platform, an optimized spray rig design, a cross-hole plastic mulch puncher, bug vacuums, an in-field Lygus monitor, and a hoop house arch remover assistant.
About the Cal Poly Strawberry Center: The Cal Poly Strawberry Center was established in 2014 as a partnership between Cal Poly and the California Strawberry Commission. This one-of-a-kind center is rooted in the hands-on learning approach that defines Cal Poly. The Center focuses on applied research incorporating teaching and learning experiences for Cal Poly undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and California strawberry farmers. For more information, please visit www.strawberry.calpoly.edu.
About the California Strawberry Commission: The California Strawberry Commission represents more than 400 strawberry farmers, shippers, and processors, proudly working together to advance strawberry farming for the future of our land and people. Commission programs create opportunities for success through groundbreaking programs focused on workforce training, strawberry production research, and nutrition research. Through science-based information and education, we deliver the good news about sustainable farming practices that benefit the health of people, farms, and communities. For more information, please visit www.calstrawberry.com.