Agronomy Advice
August 27, 2020

Late season advice for soft fruit crops

By: Giz Gaskin

As the soft fruit production season nears an end with final harvests underway it is important to keep a focus on nutrition to avoid carrying any issues over to next season so here are a few recomendations for strawberry and raspberry growers to ensure crops go in to dormancy in good condition.

Iron deficency in strawberries can often be seen late in the season
Iron deficiency can often be seen at this time of year
Iron deficency in strawberries can often be seen late in the season
Iron deficiency can often be seen at this time of year
Remember the importance of iron application late season strawberries

As strawberry production nears an end iron deficiency can normally be observed on leaves at this time when plants are giving most of their resources to fruit production.

Managing iron deficiency takes time. In severe cases a foliar feed like YaraVita FERLEAF 100 can be applied to relieve the situation. For crops which will be kept through the winter and given the reduction in NPK inputs late summer into early autumn is a good timing to fertigate iron into both the bag and plant as they grow down into winter. Filling the strawberry plants with iron now like YaraTera Rexolin Q15 a chelated product, releases the need to do so in the early part of next year when the fertigation can concentrate on nitrogen and low PK inputs though an A/B system without the complication of iron in the system.

Consider an end of season soil analysis on kept strawberry crops

As the end of season approaches, there is a significant benefit to planning an end of season soil or substright analysis. This should be considered as it offers the grower two separate opportunities to understand what is going on in the bag.

Firstly, when this result is compared to the earlier soil and leaf analysis, the fertigation manger can see what nutrients have been used up by the crop and what nutrients may still be left within the bag. This would allow for fine tuning of the following years ratio’s to limit next years build up. Secondly the information when combined with next year’s start test, will allow the grower to see what has happened over the winter period. Though plants remain dormant, the bags are often watered by the weather and an element of residual salts and minerals may be washed out of the bag. Combining this to the following years fertigation allows the grower the opportunity to aim to start the main crop year with as close to a clean bag as possible.

Late season soil or substright analysis can be made with Yara Analytical Services.

Tired looking late season fruiting crops may need a foliar feed

Some of the more productive late season fruiting crops can look tired as they run through the last part of fruiting. Having translocated much of the internal nutrients to fruit production there may be little left for maintaining leaf at the end of the year. Weak plants which are planned to be taken over tend to struggle in the following years main crop as they start the year low on energy.

A simple solution for these crops is to consider using YaraVita CROPLIFT PRO a broad spectrum foliar feed containing a good balance of NPK to give an immediate boost to tired leaves. YaraVita CROPLIFT PRO as a foliar feed will not impact overall N calculations. As a targeted leaf feed it is further unlikely to change the flavour of the remaining berries as they come ripe for picking. A macro N input should be avoided at this point in time as the strawberry crop is expected to enter dormancy in autumn. With a dose of macro N its likely the plant will be too vegetative to begin the dormancy process and would most likely be damaged by November frosts. For this reason YaraVita CROPLIFT PRO offers the best solution for maintaining final strawberry harvests while boosting plant health just prior to dormancy at the end of the year.

Read about improving nutrient efficiency

Strawberry fertigation and nutrition advice
Strawberry fertigation and nutrition advice

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