Growing day-neutral strawberries in Ontario is great for market demands, but causes additional pest management challenges. Strawberry anthracnose fruit rot is one of these new challenges.
University of Florida developed a potentially effective model that relates volume of leaf wetness and field temperature to predict severity of anthracnose on strawberries before symptoms appear. This allows berry growers to spray proactively; thus, reducing extent of crop loss and pest management costs.
In 2016 and 2017 this model was effectively customised for Ontario growing conditions. However, growers have yet to adopt the technology due to costs and uncertainty. Thankfully, the Canadian Agricultural Partnership has agreed to fund research that will be undertaken by the Berry Growers of Ontario. This research will test the theoretical model in practical settings across Ontario to determine its efficacy at predicting fungicide application times. These results will be available at the 2020 Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Convention.
Source: Agricultural Adaptation Council January 24, 2019 news release.