The Evolution of Ohio Strawberry Plasticulture Production (2001–2013)

Thursday, July 25, 2013: 1:45 PM
Desert Salon 13-14 (Desert Springs J.W Marriott Resort )
Brad R. Bergefurd , The Ohio State University, Piketon, OH
Barclay Poling , North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC
Shawn Wright , University of Kentucky, Jackson, KY
Strawberry plasticulture has been researched under southern Ohio conditions since 2001. Our goal was to determine if strawberry plasticulture would be a viable strawberry season extension technique for Ohio growers. There were several potential benefits identified to growing strawberries in plastic covered raised beds over the traditional matted row culture system, such as an earlier harvest, cleaner fruit, ease of picking, and higher yields. A two-year on farm non-replicated trial was set up by authors with two southern Ohio growers. Results of these observation trials were mixed, with more questions being raised than answered. What are the correct planting dates for our area? What types of row covers are needed for winter protection? What varieties perform well under southern Ohio conditions? In Fall 2001, replicated trials were established at the Ohio State University Piketon Research and Extension Center to study winter protection covering materials, cultivar evaluations and dates of planting. This paper will share the results of our 12 years of replicated strawberry plasticulture research and the lessons we have learned. Our last 12-year average replicated trial results have shown an optimal planting window for southern Ohio being September 10–20, with Chandler variety being the most consistent yield performer with yields as high as 23,799 kilograms per hectare. Trial results have also indicated that row cover management is required for winter protection of strawberry plants in Ohio with the heavier 1.5 ounce floating row covers showing the least winter plant damage and higher yields.
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