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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Corvallis, Oregon » Horticultural Crops Production and Genetic Improvement Research Unit » Research » Research Project #438665

Research Project: Alternative Plastic Culture Production of Fresh-market Strawberry in Substrate, High Tunnels, and Low Tunnels

Location: Horticultural Crops Production and Genetic Improvement Research Unit

Project Number: 2072-21000-055-016-G
Project Type: Grant

Start Date: Aug 1, 2020
End Date: Oct 31, 2024

To evaluate plastic culture production of fresh-market strawberry in substrate, high and low tunnels in Oregon.

Tunnels will be constructed and research plots and tabletop systems will be established. Treatments will be arranged in a split-plot design with four replicates. Tunnel treatments will include low tunnels, two high tunnel set-ups (ground production and substrate production), and an open field (control) with multiple day-neutral cultivars evaluated. Bare root plants will be obtained and planted in early spring following standard day-neutral and substrate plant spacing. Low tunnel plastic will be installed at the time of planting, side walls raised as needed, and plastic will be removed during the winter. All soil treatments will be set up in raised beds, covered with black plastic mulch and irrigated/fertigated via drip tape. Substrate systems will consist of raised tabletops supporting grow bags and irrigated/fertigated through drip tape. Crop management and fertility will follow industry and research practices. The plots will be monitored for pests and controlled using integrated pest management methods. Ripe fruit will be harvested throughout the season to measure yield and fruit quality (berry weight and soluble solids). Temperature and humidity will be monitored for each treatment using air and soil sensors. All crop expenses, tunnel structures and labor hours will be tracked for all projects to determine and compare costs of production. Data will be analyzed by analysis of variance (ANOVA) using SAS statistical software to determine effects of cultivar and production system (tunnel type) and year on yield, fruit quality and plant development. The relationship between nitrate concentration in the leaf petioles and stage of plant development will be examined. Yield and fruit nutrient concentration data will be used to calculate the total amount of nutrients removed in harvested fruit.