US: OFRF releases new report on impacts of strawberry research

As the demand for organic berries continues to grow, OFRF-funded research on the berry industry has had long lasting and widespread impacts—especially in California. This new report includes a review of OFRF-funded berry research, along with recommendations for future investment. The goal is to continue to strengthen and expand investment in organic berry production.

Since its founding, OFRF has awarded 14 grants specific to berry crop production, investing a total of $260,176. These projects range from control of the lygus bug—an ongoing challenge in both organic and conventional strawberry production—to increased availability of organic starts.

Some of the most significant scientific advancements in strawberry research have been made by Dr. Carol Shennan and Dr. Joji Muramoto at UC Santa Cruz, who have pioneered alternatives to methyl bromide in commercial strawberry production. Anaerobic soil disinfestation (ASD), an alternative to using fumigants to control soil pathogens, has been widely adopted among strawberry growers in California, and is expected to increase especially as the fumigant methyl bromide is phased out. Shennan and Muramoto used their initial OFRF grants to leverage $5.3M in additional funding from state and federal agencies.

One unique facet of OFRF grant projects is close collaboration with organic farmers as research participants. All projects on berry production funded by OFRF were conducted on certified organic farms with the participation of organic farmers and farm operators. Several of the research trials were carried out on the Central Coast, allowing research results to be directly applied to crop management protocols.

Download the report.

All OFRF-funded project results are freely available in their online database.

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