Compost for Strawberry Disease Management

Last spring, the National Strawberry Sustainability Initiative administered by the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture Center for Agricultural and Rural Sustainability released a call for proposals as part of a $3 million donation by the Walmart Foundation. We were awarded $101,821 for research on “Sustainable Strawberry Production in the Absence of Soil Fumigation.”

four compost treatments

The results of our work on the use of compost for disease management in strawberries can be found at: http://www.gordonlab.net/composting/

More information on the National Stawberry Sustainability Initiative can be found at: http://strawberry.uark.edu/

Photos of our National Strawberry Sustainability Initiative reserach are also posted on the NSSI website at http://nssi.smugmug.com/Projects/Thomas-Gordon-UC-Davis/i-kh6CkGM

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Projects from several states and $2.64 million in grants will add up to more sustainable strawberries for U.S. consumers, the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s Center for Agricultural and Rural Sustainability (CARS) announced Wednesday, May 29, during the last week of National Strawberry Month.

The grant awards are part of a $3 million donation made in February by the Walmart Foundation to the Division of Agriculture. The competitive grants program, administered by CARS, attracted 56 proposals from agricultural research and extension personnel at land-grant public universities in 29 states.

As part of the National Strawberry Sustainability Initiative grant recipients will have 12 months to complete their projects. CARS will release the project reports in September 2014.

“This grant project seeks to move the science and technology for alternative strawberry production systems and areas away from laboratories and experiment farms into the producers’ fields,” said Curt Rom, professor of horticulture in the Division of Agriculture and member of the CARS leadership team.

“The goal is to increase local and regional production of strawberries, to reduce the environmental impact of production, to reduce transportation distances between farms and markets or consumers, to reduce product loss in the supply-value chain and improve the environmental and economic sustainability of the production system. It will make significant local and regional impacts,” Rom said. “Upon completion of these projects, we will have a foundation for improving the sustainability of the U.S. strawberry production system through the supply chain, from growers to consumers.”

Thomas Gordon, University of California at Davis, “Sustainable Strawberry Production in the Absence of Soil Fumigation.”
The purpose of this project is to evaluate strawberry cultivars and the use of compost in non-fumigated soil in three different California geographic regions. The performance of strawberry cultivars will be evaluated by measuring yield and fungal damage. The results of this project will help to guide growers in selection of cultivars and the use of compost to optimize production.