Research assesses effects of compost on strawberry crops

A project to evaluate the effects of green waste compost and "in vessel" compost (with food waste included) on the yield and quality of Class 1 fruit in commercial strawberry production was presented to visitors at Fruit Focus.

The Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP)-funded trial is taking place at East Malling Research (EMR) - and scientists Dr Mark Else of EMR and Dr Martin Wood of Earthcare Environmental were on hand to discuss the progress of the project so far.

The trial will determine soil water availability, the potential of the composts to provide sufficient nutrients without the need for fertigation and their effects on firmness, Brix and shelf life of the fruit.

Also monitored throughout the trial will be the potential benefits on soil health and the incidence and severity of several major strawberry diseases.

Wood told growers that, so far, soil and leaf analysis indicate that the plants are "getting all the P and K they need". Early monitoring also suggests that the "in vessel" plants are producing a slightly bigger canopy, according to Else.


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