System helps forecast strawberry diseases

08/06/2013 10:39:00 AM
Renee Stern

Each of the system's weather stations transmit data every 15 minutes, prompting a new round of calculations against the model's thresholds.

In addition to ongoing refinements for spray recommendations, she hopes to add calculations for different strawberry cultivars based on their disease susceptibility.

The once-common Festival, which is less susceptible to both botrytis and anthracnose, has given way in recent years to Radiance as the industry's most important variety. But the characteristics that make it so popular with growers come with a greater susceptibility to botrytis, she says.

"The challenge is to find the right [fungicide] products for that," she says.

Peres also would like to expand the advisory system to include powdery mildew recommendations. Although not as prevalent as botrytis and anthracnose, powdery mildew can cause problems when conditions are right.

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