University of Florida:

Web tool helps South Carolina, Florida strawberry growers

According to a new University of Florida study, strawberry growers in Florida and South Carolina are reaping the benefits of a UF/IFAS web-based system designed to ward off two deadly pathogens.

The tool, known as the Strawberry Advisory System, uses data such as temperature and leaf wetness to tell growers when to spray fungicide to thwart botrytis and anthracnose fruit rots. Strawberries pack a powerful economic punch nationwide and in the Sunshine state itself, bringing in $2.3 billion to the national economy and $300 million a year to Florida.

Most strawberry growers treat for fungi every week during the November-to-March growing season. Spraying more wastes money and can lead to fungicide resistance. When conditions are ripe for botrytis to spread - lower temperatures and dampness on leaves - strawberry production can go down by 50 percent, even if a grower uses a scheduled fungicide.

According to a article, the system is easy for growers to use since disease alerts are sent by text messages or emails, so all alerts are timely. Furthermore, they receive information as to which products are most appropriate to spray in any given situation.

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