Most of us know what strawberry production means to California. According to USDA Agricultural Marketing Resource Center, in 2014 the United States produced 3 billion pounds of strawberries valued at nearly $2.9 billion, and California is the number-one state in strawberry production. Researchers in Florida, which ranks second in strawberry production, have developed a web tool that is helping growers here in California.
As a matter of fact, the University of Florida/IFAS development web tool is also being used in Maryland, Georgia and South Carolina. The new tool has been shown to save Florida strawberry growers $1.7 million a year. It’s called the Strawberry Advisory System or SAS for short. Its promising model simulates leaf wetness in plants.
Before the system was developed, strawberry farmers traditionally sprayed weekly during the growing season, but the new SAS tells growers when to use chemical treatments to ward off diseases.