Replanting strawberry beds in field soils offers substantial savings - but pest and disease risk, weed control and soil structure must be taken into account, according to a Horticultural Development Company (HDC) fact sheet.
"Some highly experienced strawberry businesses still encounter avoidable setbacks at planting," said author Robert Irving. "Much of this is due to overstretching resources and overlooking good husbandry practice."
Extending the life of a bed by one or two years has been claimed to bring savings of £10,000 per hectare because there is no need to move polytunnels, irrigation and bed plastic or refumigate.
"The emergence of more resilient main season varieties such as Elegance, Fenella and Finesse also extend the possibilities," Irving added.
But he said not all conditions favour replanting and a third year can only realistically be considered on the lightest soils where there are no pest and disease issues.
The factsheet is available online to HDC members at www.hdc.org.uk.
Industry view: lighter soils make the best sites
"In my experience, replanting beds offers an opportunity to extend their life, but it is essential to have a good soil structure.
"Lighter soils are easier to manage, so growers should be careful when deciding on the most suitable sites. It also requires good husbandry practice, but if it is done correctly, the rewards are considerable."
Stephen McGuffie, co-owner, New Farm Produce