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Frank Kempkes (WUR) on fossil fuel free cultivated strawberries

"Despite countermeasures against tipburn, the strawberry problem is still not solved"

In the fossil fuel free and sustainable demo greenhouses at Wageningen University & Research in the Dutch town of Bleiswijk, four different crops are cultivated, among which the strawberry. The strawberries of the everbearer Favori were planted on the 28th of March. Unfortunately, the planting material was not very homogeneous, as Frank Kempkes writes on 'Kas als Energiebron'. “The liftable gutter system is functioning well thus far and the width of the aisle, which is 80 centimeters, doesn’t appear to be too narrow.”

However, a problem that is occurring is tipburn in young leaves and flower branches, which, despite taking various countermeasures after discussing with the advisor, was still not resolved at the end of June. In June, precisely 4 kg/m2 of fruit with good external fruit quality and taste were harvested.

Warmer cultivation for more photosynthesis
In the strawberries, photosynthesis measurements were conducted at different temperatures, varying from 10 to 30 oC in different CO₂ concentrations. At temperatures of 20 oC and higher, the photosynthesis is clearly higher than at 10 oC and 15 oC when there is a light intensity of 200 µmol/m2/s, and the difference in photosynthesis increases as the light intensity becomes higher. At higher temperatures up to 30 oC, the photosynthesis still increases if the CO₂ concentration becomes higher as well. For instance, the photosynthesis at 800 ppm CO₂ at 30 oC is twice as high as at 15 oC.

Organic crop protection
Due to the effort made by organic crop protection, pests have been under control so far. Only one time chemicals had to be used when dealing with spider mite. Partly due to the mildew resistant variety, only once was an organic agent used against mildew. Besides bumblebees, Syrphidae are experimentally being used as pollinators.  

Click here to see more of the test (in Dutch).

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