Relative yields and end of season plant size assessments as surrogate measures of strawberry yield

J. W. Noling, Marjorie Cody


A strawberry plant sizing methodology was used to characterize and relate relative differences in strawberry crop yields to commercially hand harvested yield in each of five large scale field trials from Fall 2008 to Spring 2013. In each year, marketable strawberry fruit were hand harvested on two- to three day intervals season long from 48 to 66 individual plots, each plot typically representing 436 plants and 73 m (240 linear feet) of plant row. End of harvest season surveys were conducted each year to count the numbers of strawberry plants within four plant size and dead categories in each plot at the Florida Strawberry Growers Association (FSGA) Research and Education Farm in Dover, FL. Strawberry yields from commercially hand harvested large plots were well correlated with relative yield values estimated from the number of plants in each of the four plant size and dead categories within the plot. For each year’s analysis, best-fit linear or quadratic functions explained 40% to 91% of the variability between harvest fruit yield (kg/ha) and estimated relative yield. Assessments of plant size distribution and relative yield were also descriptive of plant growth and yield differences between various preplant soil fumigant treatments. As much as 75% to 97% of the variability between fumigant treatment means of the two strawberry yield parameters was accounted for by multiple regression analyses. Biological, environmental, and cultural practices and conditions that affected strawberry production levels and plant size distribution were identified.

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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283