Earlier yields and better establishment of strawberry runners (BS13002)
What was it all about?
This project developed strategies to improve runner establishment in the strawberry industry to promote earlier yields and help growers profit from an extended harvest season.
Strawberry fruit delivered early or late can attract premium prices for growers when supply is scarce. However, one of the key constraints to early fruit yields in Australia is the availability and maturity of strawberry runners for planting in March. Additionally, runners are prone to poor establishment and survival if planted when too immature.
The project evaluated the use of day-neutral cultivars of cold-store runners (runners stored at -2°C), different agronomic practices and plug plants (containerised transplants) in field trials, mostly at Wanneroo, Western Australia, and nursery trials at Toolangi, Victoria.
Wanneroo results showed the use of cold-stored runners of the day-neutral cultivars Portola and San Andreas could increase early (April to May) and late (October to November) season fruit yields, compared with traditional leaf-on runners of short-day cultivars such as Fortuna.
Over the whole season, cold-stored runners produced up to 50 per cent more fruit and 45 per cent higher revenues ($2.40 more per plant) than leaf-on runners. Interestingly, however, these results couldn’t be replicated in trials in other regions of the country.
The research identified several factors associated with poor establishment of leaf-on runners including runner architecture, low starch concentrations in runners, runner immaturity, soil borne pathogens and variable fumigation practices.
Fruit yields from plug plants were highly variable and further research is required on their physiology to achieve more consistent yields.
This project has been funded by Hort Innovation
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