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  • Author or Editor: Zhengfei Guan x
  • HortTechnology x
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The majority of strawberry (Fragaria ×ananassa) production in Florida, USA, uses bare-root transplants that require large volumes of water via sprinkler irrigation for establishment. Although plug transplants can be established without sprinkler irrigation, they generally are more than double the cost of bare-root transplants. We hypothesized that the use of early-planted (September) plug transplants on white-on-black mulch without impact sprinkler irrigation (WP system) would be more profitable and conserve water compared with the typical grower standard practice of black plastic mulch and bare-root transplants planted in mid-October that were established using impact sprinkler irrigation for heat mitigation for 12 d after transplanting (BB system). ‘Florida Radiance’ plug transplants and bare-root transplants were used in the 2-year study that was conducted at Citra and Balm, FL, USA. Water use and early and total strawberry yield of the two systems were compared. Water use in both locations was lower with the WP system than the BB system. Early yield was higher by 683 and 346 8-lb flats/acre with the WP system at Citra and Balm, respectively, compared with the BB system. The total marketable yield with the WP system was 2062 flats/acre and 1917 flats/acre greater at Citra and Balm, respectively, than with the BB system. Partial budget analysis indicated that the WP system at Citra increased the net profit by $14,657/acre, whereas a net profit of $13,765/acre was obtained at Balm. These results will inform decision-making about cropping system modification that can be adopted by Florida strawberry growers to considerably reduce water use in an economically feasible manner.

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