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Field day highlights strawberry researchField day highlights strawberry research

The latest in farming innovation displayed at Cal Poly.

Farm Press Staff

August 21, 2023

1 Min Read
Strawberry field
Strawberries grow on California's Central Coast.Tim Hearden

A recent field day on California’s Central Coast highlighted innovations in strawberry farming technology and research aimed at helping growers overcome challenges.

Nearly 500 growers, shippers, processors, researchers and others gathered for California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo’s seventh annual Strawberry Center Field Day.

The field day is the industry’s largest of the year.

“The Strawberry Center Field Day gives growers the opportunity to see their investments in research in action,” said Allen Davis, the California Strawberry Commission’s chairman. The commission sponsors research at the center.

New research in the areas of automation, pathology and entomology were presented and displayed by students, researchers and commission employees. Projects included the development of disease-resistant plant cultivars, the nighttime UV-C light treatment to manage pests and disease, and an optimized bug vacuum that sucks up pests as it rolls through fields mounted to a tractor.

“The Cal Poly Strawberry Center creates a strong synergistic relationship with students, researchers and the strawberry industry,” said Neil Nagata, an Oceanside, Calif., strawberry grower. “California is leading the way in strawberry farming, not just in volume, but in innovative, sustainable practices that have been adopted around the world.”

The Strawberry Center was formed in 2014 by Cal Poly and the commission with a goal of increasing the sustainability of the $3 billion industry through research and education.

The center was recently awarded a $1 million reoccurring federal grant to expand its automation research.

Source: California Strawberry Commission

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