This scouting session for our day-neutral organic strawberry project at the West Madison Agricultural Research Station (WMARS) was conducted Friday, June 9th in the afternoon. Field conditions during collections were breezy, hot, and dry. This project aims to evaluate the effects of four different film-based mulches (black, white, and reflective plastic mulches and paper mulch) on strawberry production in an annual, day neutral system. This system-wide field trial is evaluating yield, fruit quality, pest pressure, and economic feasibility of this regionally novel system for strawberry production. Our field was planted on the 8th of May, and plants are still developing with flowers and runners removed as they appear. We are irrigating for short intervals several times a week, with fertigation occurring once weekly at the rate of 5 lbs N per Acre. This is our first scouting report of the growing season!
Sampling Methods: 160 plants (40 plants per mulch treatment) were randomly selected and assessed for insect pest and disease presence and respective pressure using the University of Wisconsin Extension BioIPM Strawberry Workbook. At each sampling point, two leaves per plant were tapped into a white tray, and any thrips or tarnished plant bugs were counted. Mites were assessed on an incidence-basis: whole plants were evaluated for mite presence on foliage and crowns. Each plant was also inspected for disease symptoms.
Mites were present in this week’s scouting on just over 20% of sampled plants. These mites likely entered the field on nursery stock, and were found primarily on older leaves and near the plant crown. These lower leaflets appeared shrunken, but newer and outer leaves did not seem to be affected.
Thrips and Tarnished plant bugs (Fig 1) were also noted on a few plants, though no associated foliar damage was noted. These pests are more commonly associated with flower clusters and fruit, which we are continuing to remove through the end of June. We did notice a sharp increase in tarnished plant bugs in the beginning of the week during an informal scouting session, which aligned with the mowing of alfalfa hay at the research station. As shown, numbers have since decreased. Once flower clusters remain on the plants, we will begin sampling for these insects by tapping flower clusters instead of leaflets.
|Thrips (Average per leaflet)
|Tarnished Plant Bug (Average per leaflet)
|Spotted- wing Drosophila (Incidence)
|0.21 ± 0.064
|0.07 ± 0.07
|0.03 ± 0.03
A few plants have shown signs of stunting, collapse, and death (Fig 2). These symptoms could be attributed to multiple possible factors, including disease or drought stress. We plan to test these plants for the presence of pathogens, and will provide updates as they are available.
|Common Leaf Spot
|Phomopsis Leaf Blight
Funding for this project was provided by USDA-NIFA ORG award # 2021-51106-35490This article was posted in Berries and tagged Ariana Abbrescia, Christelle Guédot, DNS, DNS Organic, Jarret Miles-Kroening, Leslie Holland, organic, Organic Day-Neutral Strawberry Production, organic strawberries, Strawberries, strawberry.