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Interactive career workshop held for Center students

Nov 15, 2022

We are grateful to CAFES Career Counselor Hannah Steen for affording another career workshop opportunity to our Center students! Hannah facilitated the interactive workshop "Evaluating Job Offers and Negotiating Salaries", held at the Strawberry Center on 3 Nov 2022. She presented salary negotiation information, tips and insights; As well as discussed effective ways to evaluate job offer(s) and navigate the post-offer terrain. 
Thank you, Hannah!

interactive workshop "Evaluating Job Offers and Negotiating Salaries", held at the Strawberry
interactive workshop "Evaluating Job Offers and Negotiating Salaries", held at the Strawberry

Strawberry Center researchers part of $6.2M USDA grant

Nov 10, 2022

Strawberry Center researchers are part of multi-institutional $6.2 million USDA four-year grant awarded to PI Dr. Steve Knapp at UC Davis and a team of researchers at six research institutions around the country. The project focuses on addressing expanding and emerging threats to strawberries, such as climate change and possible restrictions on chemical use. Advanced plant breeding, gene editing and other technologies will be essential to ensuring that strawberry crops are sustainable into the future.

The Strawberry Center's role in this project will be in characterizing the interaction of abiotic stressors (e.g., temperature, moisture, salts) on Macrophomina crown rot, an emerging threat to strawberry growers.
Cal Poly researchers part of $6.2M USDA grant


Nov 8, 2022

2.5 acres and over 50,000 plants

We realize that these are not big numbers for any commercial grower, but it's a big day for our small team at the Strawberry Center because our whole season of research starts here!

Unlike some years where temperatures soared over 95F, we had a nice cool (high of 71F/22C), sunny day for transplanting last Wednesday 2 Nov 2022. We are extremely grateful to our team of students, staff and the labor crews who made it happen in one day.

A special shout-out to Darensberries/BlazerWilkinsonGee and Good Farms for sending two labor crews to help us plant and to Lassen Canyon Nursery for donating bareroot transplants. The work is long and tiring, but scanning across the bed tops dotted with beautiful strawberry transplants at the end of the day makes every bent back and deep knee bend worth it!


Continue reading TRANSPLANTING DAY 2022...
2022 BEDDING UP at the Strawberry Center

2022 BEDDING UP at the Strawberry Center

Nov 4, 2022

In preparation for planting this season, Strawberry Center students Anthony Bella (M.S. Agriculture, Crop Science concentration) operates the rototiller/bed shaper combination implement and Colin Koubek (B.S. Plant Sciences) follows up with some shovel work to fill in the gaps (top photo); Stella Buford (B.S. Agr Systems Mgmt) injecting drip tape onto finished beds (bottom photo). Fine textured soil like this are not easy to make strawberry beds out of! Once beds are shaped and plastic put down, transplanting will take place.

Hawk-simulating kite used in research project

Hawk-simulating kite used in research project

Nov 1, 2022

Led by center plant pathologist Dr. Shashika Hewavitharana and Master's student Mary Steele, the Wheat Cover Crop research project is in its second year. The project evaluates the impact of wheat as a cover crop on the severity of Macrophomina root rot of strawberry. Shown here about a week after sowing wheat seeds is protective netting (on top of soil) and a kite simulating a hawk in efforts to keep resident birds from impacting the study.

Strawberry Center Disease Diagnostic Service

Oct 31, 2022

About the plant disease diagnostic service

Soil-borne pathogens such as Macrophomina phaseolina are challenging strawberry production as they become increasingly prevalent across California (Fig. 1). Accurate disease diagnosis is the cornerstone of integrated pest management. The Strawberry Center’s disease diagnostic service has been serving California strawberry growers since its inception in 2014. This diagnostic service, fully funded by the California Strawberry Commission, is free to all California strawberry growers, pest control advisors, breeding programs, and industry partners. Diseased strawberry plant samples are self-collected and submitted to the Strawberry Center for disease diagnosis. As part of their participation in the Strawberry Academy, Cal Poly student assistants process submitted plant samples, gaining valuable pathology laboratory experience and training.

Read full blog post @




Strawberry Academy featured in CAFES CULTIVATE newsletter

Oct 27, 2022

The Strawberry Academy was featured in the Fall 2022 issue of CULTIVATE, the Cal Poly College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences' (CAFES) quarterly magazine.

The Strawberry Academy, launched in 2021, is a student workforce readiness program designed to provide our students with the opportunities to gain practical industry skills while attending school.

Article available online @

Our latest research blog post: Diagnostic symptoms and signs of OFF-CYCLE ZYTHIA LEAF BLOTCH

Oct 25, 2022

Learn about diagnostic symptoms and signs of OFF-CYCLE ZYTHIA LEAF BLOTCH in our latest research blog post.

We usually see Zythia leaf blotch (caused by Zythia fragariae) during the early spring when plants are small and the weather is cool and wet. With summer planting in Santa Maria occurring in May, especially in fields close to the coastline where fog and heavy dews are common, the same conditions exist...
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Strawberry Center students tour "table top" production system

Strawberry Center students tour "table top" production system

Oct 25, 2022


Strawberry Center students toured the "table top" production system at Mar Vista Berry on 17 Oct 2022. Table top production is not new but is seeing renewed interest and improved techniques among some strawberry growers because of the benefits it offers over conventional farming (e.g., improved ergonomics for harvesting and lack of soilborne pathogens). The advantages must be weighed against the increased costs for long-term sustainability. Strawberry farming in California is a very dynamic business where new stressors on the system can change farming practices rapidly. Our students got an outstanding introduction to this system along with its pros and cons by hosts Greg France and Ryan Harrison at Mar Vista Berry, both Cal Poly grads.


A bumper crop of lygus: 7 facts about lygus bugs you may not have known

Oct 20, 2022

Lygus bug gotcha down?

Center entomologist Dr. Sarah Zukoff reviews some basic lygus biology on in our recent blog post -- "A bumper crop of lygus: 7 facts about lygus bugs you may not have known".


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