- Fruits: berries (strawberries)
- Crop Production: organic fertilizers
- Education and Training: extension, farmer to farmer, on-farm/ranch research, participatory research
- Pest Management: biological control, cultural control, economic threshold, field monitoring/scouting, integrated pest management, trap crops, mulching - vegetative
Strawberry growers in the watersheds of Santa Cruz and Monterey counties face problems because of concern over insecticide use in these watersheds, where 40% of the strawberries are grown in drainages leading to the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.
This Professional + Producer grant will build on previous SARE-funded research that found that lygus bugs, a primary target of insecticide applications, are highly attracted to alfalfa trap crops, where they can be machine vacuumed to reduce bug damage in nearby strawberries and the insecticide applications to control them.
On a participating producer’s 44-acre strawberry ranch in the Salinas Valley, strips of alfalfa will be intercropped with the strawberries to see which treatment is most effective, vacuumed alfalfa, insecticide-treated alfalfa, untreated alfalfa or no alfalfa. Success could mean taking a measure used in organic strawberry production and applying it to conventional production, which comprises 96% of California’s 34,000 acres of strawberries.