Find out more on how fresh market production management differs in Oregon production systems.
Mid-Late Season Pest Management for Day Neutral Strawberries
- Appearance: Adult thrips are slender, small insects about .03 inch (0.8 mm). Adults have feathery wings and vary in color from yellow to dark brown, and nymphs are white or yellowish with small dark eyes.
- Impact: Thrips feed on strawberry blossoms, causing the stigmas and anthers to turn brown and wither prematurely, but not before fertilization has occurred. As fruit develops, it can cause a russeting (Type I bronzing) of the fruit around the cap.
- Management and More Information: See the Pacific Northwest Insect Management Handbook’s entry on thrips.
- Appearance: Adults are .25 to .5 inches long, oval, and rather flattened. Adults are greenish to brownish and have a distinct yellow or pale green “V” shape on their backs. Immature forms are pale green and look like an aphid but move more quickly. Nymphs are wingless, green, and characterized by five black dots on the back.
- Impact: Lygus feeds on buds, bloom, and immature fruits, resulting in deformed fruits (cat-facing), which reduces yield and fruit quality.
- Management and more information: See the Pacific Northwest Insect Management Handbook’s entry on lygus.
- Appearance: SWD are small (2-3 mm) with red eyes. SWD male flies have a black spot on the tip of each wing and two leg bands on each front leg. The female has a large serrated ovipositor that can penetrate soft-skinned fruit, such as berries and stone fruit.
- Impact: Female SWD can lay up to three eggs at a time and several hundred in her lifetime. Eggs hatch soon into larvae (small white maggots) that feed inside the fruit, causing fruit flesh to soften and discolor. Fruit surface will show depressions that leak fruit fluids.
- Management and more information: See the Pacific Northwest Insect Management Handbook’s entry on Spotted-wing Drosophila.
Twospotted Spider Mite:
Extending the Life and Quality of your Strawberries. Read on for the importance of proper cooling and post-harvest efforts in fresh production.
- Appearance: Adults are 2- 3 mm long, have eight legs, and are tan or greenish with a dark spot on each side of their backs. They are often found on the underside of leaves in webbing.]
- Impact: Their feeding reduces plant vigor and may cause leaves to turn brown, curl and drop off prematurely, which reduces yield.
- Management and more information: See the Pacific Northwest Insect Management Handbooks entry on Twospotted spider mites.
Post-Harvest Handling of Fresh Market Strawberries
Think about all the steps you take from field to shelf in order to ensure that you’re sending the best quality of berries to market.
- Field Packing: Pick directly into the final package. It reduces handling and associated damage and also reduces labor costs.
- From Field to Packing Shed: Make sure that the berries are being transported using a vehicle that ensures a smooth ride. This will decrease bruising. Keep the berries shaded if it’s a long trip.
- At the Packing Shed: Create a custom line for packing that is efficient, have an easy access loading dock, and have a roof that provides protection from the elements.
- Berry Temperature: The optimum temperature for maintaining fresh strawberries is 0 +/- 0.5C (32 +/- 1F).
Notes on Cooling
- Marketability: Cooling is the single most important factor for maintaining quality. Cooling delays of 2, 4, 6, or 8 hours reduces marketability by 20, 37, 50, or 70%, respectively, after holding the fruit at 77F. The longer you wait to cool your berries, the less marketable they become.
- Cooling Systems: The most widely used commercial method to precool berries is forced-air cooling. Cold air is forced to move rapidly through the containers (versus around the containers as in room cooling), allowing the cold air to directly contact the warm berries. Forced-air cooling is typically 75-90% faster at cooling than room cooling.