With a new web tool introduced by the University of Florida, a grower can potentially net an additional $900K-$1.7 million profit in a 10 year period for an average strawberry farm of 26 acres. Instead of the traditional method of weekly spraying during the growing season between November and March, this tool will tell you the most ideal times to spray crops for diseases.
The diseases responsible for the spraying are anthracnose and botrytis. Almost all strawberry growers in Florida have run-ins with botrytis. Some get it yearly, and some get it every few years. The fungicide to combat these killers are expensive for growers.
This new tool is known as The Strawberry Advisory System and is a product of the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Services (UF/IFA S). It incorporates data such as moisture content of leaves and temperature to indicate the best possible time to spray crops for diseases. Spraying at the wrong times or too often can be expensive and unnecessary, and the crops can end up becoming resistant to the fungicide.
Developers of the system are hopeful the positive results of this study will encourage strawberry farmers to use the system. They are confident that farmers will realize how beneficial the new system can be, how much more competitive they can be, and how profits can dramatically rise for strawberry growers. In an industry worth more than $4 billion, it is estimated this type of system can substantially improve profits for millions of growers around the world.