Cal Poly Strawberry Center Presents New Strawberry Farming Research and Innovation Efforts
Contacts: Jeff Cardinale
California Strawberry Commission
Cal Poly College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences
Annual Strawberry Center Field Day research aids industry in pest and disease management and workforce efficiency and safety
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — Hundreds of strawberry growers, researchers and agricultural stakeholders from California will gather from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 3, for the Cal Poly Strawberry Center Field Day, the largest research and education event for the California strawberry industry. The event will showcase the latest in strawberry innovation and provide attendees with resources to better combat challenges faced by strawberry growers while introducing new technologies.
The Strawberry Center was formed in 2014 as a partnership between the California Strawberry Commission and Cal Poly with the goal of increasing the sustainability of California’s $3 billion strawberry industry through research and education. Recently, the Strawberry Center was awarded a $1 million reoccurring federal grant to expand its research in strawberry automation.
“We look forward to Strawberry Center Field Day each year to give our students and staff a chance to showcase the research and innovations they’re working on and how those projects can benefit the strawberry industry long term,” said Gerald Holmes, director of the Cal Poly Strawberry Center. “Past innovations like the Lygus bug vacuum have seen great adoption by the industry.”
Now in its seventh year, the Strawberry Center Field Day spotlights the latest research findings in automation, entomology and plant pathology. Highlighted projects include:
- Non-chemical pest management solutions involving an optimized bug vacuum and use of UV-C light.
- Automations to improve workplace efficiency and safety, such as the hoop house arch remover, decapper and cross hole puncher/burner.
- Solutions for controlling and mitigating soilborne pathogens including the use of cover crops, plant breeding and moisture control.
California’s strawberry farmers are among the most progressive and environmentally conscious growers in the state and the world. They continue to lead, evolve and implement the most sustainable farming practices and ways to grow strawberries, which includes the research and innovations coming from the Strawberry Center.
“As an industry, we’re always looking for a better way of doing things that benefits not only the farmers and farmworkers, but their community, the land and the planet,” said Rick Tomlinson, president of the California Strawberry Commission. “The research being done at the Strawberry Center is vital to the strawberry industry and is helping fulfill the commission’s goal of providing our growers with the latest research and innovations to improve sustainability and efficiency.”
Registration for the event is now open for strawberry industry members. For more details on the Strawberry Center Field Day, visit strawberry.calpoly.edu/field-day-2023-information-and-handouts.
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About California Strawberry Commission
The California Strawberry Commission is made up of more than 300 strawberry farmers, shippers and processors, all working together to advance strawberry farming for the future of our land and people. Commission programs create opportunities for success through groundbreaking programs focused on workforce training, strawberry production research and nutrition research. Through science-based information and education, it delivers the good news about sustainable farming practices that benefit the health of people, farms and communities. Visit calstrawberry.com.
About Cal Poly Strawberry Center
The Cal Poly Strawberry Center was established in 2014 within the Cal Poly College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences as a partnership between Cal Poly and the California Strawberry Commission. This one-of-a-kind center is rooted in the hands-on learning approach that defines Cal Poly. The center focuses on applied research incorporating teaching and learning experiences for Cal Poly undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and California strawberry farmers. For more information, please visit. strawberry.calpoly.edu.