Oppy conducts research trials for strawberry technologies

Oppy is conducting two independent trials exploring the viability of new technologies that aim to further advance strawberry production practices by offering solutions to persistent issues faced by the industry.

The grower, marketer and distributor of produce will work with the University of California, Santa Cruz on the first of the trials, a USDA-funded research project aiming to test a systems-based approach to pest and disease mitigation. The study will explore alternative treatments to mitigate pervasive and detrimental soil-borne pathogens during strawberry cultivation, including Fusarium oxysporum and Macrophomina phaseolina.

“We’re extremely excited to work on finding solutions to challenges facing the strawberry industry as a whole,” said Jason Fung, Oppy’s vice-president of categories, berries and greenhouse. “Oppy’s participation in this research project has the potential to be transformative, as most soil-borne pathogens are lethal to strawberry crops. Any improvements in reducing this will have a tremendous impact on our business.”

Right: Jason Fung

The second trial aims to improve operational efficiencies in strawberry cultivation through a robotic harvester. Oppy and its partners will examine if the harvester can assist in solving some of the industry’s difficulties with labor scarcity, which have only been amplified during the pandemic. The trial will determine if robotic picking is more efficient and cost-effective than traditional methods, as well as assess the harvester’s ability to select fruit based on specific standards, and understand which varieties work best with this machine.

“Automation in agriculture has been catapulted into the spotlight thanks to the unique challenges posed by the pandemic,” said Garland Perkins, Oppy’s senior manager of insights and innovation. “Engaging with our stakeholders across the supply chain is necessary for the success of these trials and reflects the collaborative approach essential for innovation.”

Right: Garland Perkins

Oppy has placed a renewed focus on innovation over the past few years, investing in numerous trials of a wide range of technologies and across categories. These include shelf-life extension, varietal development, automation and more.

For more information:
Shrief Fadl
Oppy
Tel: +1 (604) 537-6438
Shrief.Fadl@oppy.com 
www.oppy.com


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