Introduction to strawberry cultivation

Strawberry cultivation is increasingly important in horticulture worldwide. With the expertise of consultants of Delphy this course will provide knowledge and skills to start or to upgrade your strawberry production. The participants are international, (relatively) new in strawberry cultivation and are active in middle of upper layer of management. During this five-day intensive course basic management technology, crop cultivation and socio-economic managerial aspects will be highlighted. Practical training and field trips to relevant companies and places are part of the course.

The outline below is a proposed outline and will be adjusted for each group of participants to fully meet their demands.

Course Dates 2018: to be determined
Time and Duration: 5 full days (9.00 – 17.00 hour)
Location: Improvement Centre, Bleiswijk, The Netherlands
Price per person: on request
Registration: Contact our education department for more information & registration
Course Program (changes may occur for organisational reasons)

Day 1: Introduction in greenhouse vegetable sector and crop production

  • Introduction of program, participants and Delphy
  • Overview greenhouse sector worldwide and the Netherlands; status quo, trends and developments. Emphasis on strawberry production and consumption.
  • Field visit: Visit to Improvement Centre, explanation of state-of-the-art greenhouse system and different cultivation systems in the Improvement Centre as in introduction to what is to come (depending on the trainees this may be during the afternoon session)
  • Plant = factory; how does the plant function and what parts does a plant have? What is the difference between growth and development? The basis of all production is the process of photosynthesis. To have a good understanding more basics of plant physiology are discussed, including the difference between respiration and transpiration.

Day 2: Strawberry cultivation systems

  • Lecture in which different cultivation systems are explained. After this explanation the advantages and disadvantages of different systems are discussed with the participants for their specific situation.
  • Field visit: A commercial strawberry nursery is visited and/or one of the research sites in the Netherlands.

Day 3: Crop Production Systems

  • Field visit: The cultivation starts with the choice of the right variety for the cultivation system and market. In that process breeding companies play an important role. This morning a breeder/propagator of strawberry is visited to see the process of propagation as well as discuss characteristics that are important for the crop.
  • Main reason for placing a greenhouse or other protective structure is to be able to control the climate. But what is an optimal climate for a plant and how to achieve this? This is explained in the lecture Introduction to Greenhouse Climate. In addition to the lecture and depending on the group a workshop on the Mollier diagram is added to the program.
  • During the cultivation monitoring and registration of all kind of data plays an important role in order to plan ahead and learn from the past. This afternoon focusses on monitoring, analysis and control of greenhouse climate, plant data and labour. What do we monitor, why and how? And what to do with the collected data?

Day 4: Optimizing crop production environment

  • Irrigation and fertilisation are important aspects of the cultivation of strawberry. In lectures the function in the plant of different macro and micro nutrients is discussed, substrate selection, composition of nutrient solution and if possible also a calculation of a nutrient solution.
  • In the afternoon another important topic is on the list: Integrated pest management (IPM). As chemicals against pests and diseases are less favourable over the years, and more biologic control is used, crop protection is a very important topic.

Day 5: Post-harvest and company management

  • Once the produce is harvested it should reach the consumer in good shape. A lecture on post-harvest will indicate the most important influences on the quality and how to maintain the quality in the chain to the consumer. If possible a field visit is done to see the handling of strawberries in the chain.
  • The final session will address company organisation, production planning and greenhouse labour management. How do you keep your workers motivated, how can you monitor and optimize the labour?
  • To finalize the intensive course a round table is organised for final discussion and evaluation. During the closure session the certificates are handed and drinks offered.

More information
For more information please contact our education department

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