The University of Florida is a leading agriculture college, thanks in part to research-based tools such as the one developed for the strawberry industry. The web tool was created to help Florida strawberry growers save money, and it’s proved so useful that strawberry growers in other states—like Georgie, California, Maryland and South Carolina—are using it as well.
The web tool was created in 2012 by Natalia Peres, a UF/IFAS associate professor of plant pathology, and Clyde Fraisse, UF/IFAS associate professor of agricultural and biological engineering. Known as the Strawberry Advisory System, or SAS, the web tool calculates the strawberries’ disease risk every quarter of an hour based on information from weather stations. Prior to the SAS, strawberry growers would spray their strawberry plants on a weekly schedule, wasting money on excess pesticides and increasing fungicide resistance. The SAS tells growers when to treat their strawberries for certain diseases, and it has been shown to save Florida strawberry growers $1.7 million a year.
A new innovation is being added to the SAS web tool to make it even more useful, again due to UF/IFAS research. Sensors at weather stations for leaf wetness are not always accurate, so a leaf-wetness model will help predictions of conditions to be more accurate. The model calculates leaf wetness based on variables like temperature, relative humidity, wind and more to predict when sprayings will be the most effective. This means even more accurate spraying for strawberry growers, and more savings. Recent trials of the model have been promising, according to a UF/IFAS release. Strawberry growers can log on to the system at www.agroclimate.org/tools/strawberry; they can also sign up for email or text alerts.
Griffin Fertilizer is committed to helping both growers and ranchers make sound agronomic and economic decisions in order to maximize the health of their grove and pasture. As a full-service custom dry & liquid fertilizer blender and crop protection product distributor, we will continue our mission to further advance Florida agriculture. For questions or concerns about your farm or pasture, contact us and one of our team will be in touch.