As beginning farmers, my husband, Ray, and I have not found adequate information evaluating new strawberry varieties replacing older more established varieties available from commercial nurseries. Trials for strawberry varieties in Iowa have not been completed by Iowa State University since 2011. Understanding how new varieties perform in our area, enables growers to choose varieties that provide the best return for their investment. This makes for more efficiently produced crops by reducing inputs and maximizing profit for Iowa growers. With most of Iowa’s small-scale growers located in rural areas, increasing profitability of a specialty crop can help with reviving and diversifying our rural economies which encourages economic sustainability. Better variety placement can also lead to less resources being used to produce the berry crop making the production of strawberries in Iowa more efficient. This strawberry cultivar trial will not only benefit growers in Iowa but also benefit growers in the tri-state area of Illinois and Wisconsin for both home and commercial use since our farm is only 45 miles from both states.
Project objectives from proposal:
- We will evaluate the varieties based on yield, winter hardiness, berry firmness, date of bloom, date of fruiting, flavor, prevalent diseases, and prevalent insects. (<23 months)
- Share preliminary findings through field day in first year of fruiting. (<23 months)
- Release initial report and a YouTube video discussing our first fruiting season (<23 months) and final report documenting results from two fruiting seasons. (>23 months)
- This project will enable us as well as other berry producers to build an economically sustainable and efficient production model. (>23 months)