Cal Poly Strawberry Center Highlights Research at Strawberry Field Day

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – The Cal Poly Strawberry Center highlighted 15 different research projects they worked on throughout the season at its annual Strawberry Field Day. Members of the California Strawberry Commission and more than 250 industry members 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.

In 2020, the Field Day went virtual and drew in more than 280 viewers from 14 countries. “We’re excited to host our fifth annual Field Day and return to an in-person event with all the opportunities for networking and hands-on learning,” said Strawberry Center Director Gerald Holmes. This year, the Field Day returned as an outdoor-only event adhering to all current safety guidelines for COVID-19.

The Field Day included presentations on the latest findings from the Center’s three central research departments: entomology, pathology, and automation. The entomology team provided research findings that addressed 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.  

“The collaboration between the Commission and Strawberry Center is a model of modernizing applied research in a way that creates innovative and high-impact results,” said Tomlinson.

About the Cal Poly Strawberry Center

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 that incorporates both teaching and learning experiences for Cal Poly undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and California strawberry farmers. For more information, please visit

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