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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: AIR QUALITY IN THE CHESAPEAKE BAY REGION AS INFLUENCED BY AGRICULTURAL LAND USE CHANGES Title: A Comparison of Three Cold-Climate Strawberry Production Systems: Environmental Effects

Authors
item Stevens, Matthew - NC COOP EXT, HALIFAX,NC
item Black, Brent - UTAH STATE UNIV, LOGAN
item Lea-Cox, John - UNIV MD, COLLEGE PARK
item SADEGHI, ALI
item Harman-Fetcho, Jennifer - LINTHICUM, MD
item PFEIL, MARIELLEN
item DOWNEY, PETER
item HAPEMAN, CATHLEEN

Submitted to: Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: September 24, 2008
Publication Date: May 1, 2009
Repository URL: http://ddr.nal.usda.gov/dspace/handle/10113/31115
Citation: Stevens, M.D., Black, B.L., Lea-Cox, J.D., Sadeghi, A.M., Harman-Fetcho, J., Pfeil, M., Downey, P.M., Hapeman, C.J. 2009. A Comparison of Three Cold-Climate Strawberry Production Systems: Environmental Effects. Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science. 44(2):298-305.

Interpretive Summary: Nearly every urban center in the Midwest, Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region is surrounded by small-scale fruit and vegetable farms that market produce directly to the end consumer through roadside stands, farm markets and customer-pick sales. Although over 95% of the strawberries in the US are cultivated as an annual crop in coastal California and in central Florida, strawberries are an important early-season crop for many of these small-scale operations. The environmental effects of the traditional cultivation practice (conventional matted row system or CMR) were compared to two more recently developed practices: advanced matted row (AMR) and cold-climate plasticulture (CCP). Nitrogen (N) uptake by the plant, runoff volume, soil erosion, and pesticide and nitrogen concentrations in the runoff were measured in a side-by-side, multiyear study. Decreases in erosion and runoff volumes were observed in plots that were disturbed less by machine operations and had less foot traffic due to decrease need for hand weeding and in plots that used straw mulch in the furrows between the beds. Timing and intensity of precipitation events also influenced the amount of soil erosion. Pesticide residues and N losses were greatest in the runoff from the CMR. CCP and AMR performed similarly for most criteria, however, for one fungicide, residue concentrations in runoff from AMR were lower. The two systems which used drip fertigation, AMR and CCP, also had higher N uptake efficiency. These results will be useful to extension agents and producers who want to reduce the environmental footprint of small fruit production.

Technical Abstract: The environmental effects of the three strawberry (Fragaria xananassa) cold-climate cultivation practices were compared: the traditional method (conventional matted row system or CMR) and two more recently developed practices (advanced matted row or AMR, cold-climate plasticulture or CCP). Nitrogen (N) uptake, runoff volume, soil erosion, and pesticide and nitrogen concentrations in the runoff were measured in a side-by-side, multiyear study. Decreases in erosion and runoff volumes were observed in plots that were disturbed less by machine operations and had less foot traffic due to decrease need for hand weeding and in plots that used straw mulch in the furrows between the beds. Timing and intensity of precipitation events also influenced the amount of soil erosion. Pesticide residues and N losses were greatest in the runoff from the CMR. CCP and AMR performed similarly for most criteria, however, for one fungicide, residue concentrations in runoff from AMR were lower. The two systems which used drip fertigation, AMR and CCP, also had higher N uptake efficiency.

Last Modified: 9/10/2014
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