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California Strawberries

California ranks first in strawberry production in the U.S., providing over 80% of the nation's strawberries.

Oxnard, CA strawberry field

Douglas V Shaw and Kirk D. Larson, Principal Investigators

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Improvement in the efficiency and product quality of agricultural production systems results from the development of superior production environments and breeding of cultivars specifically adapted to these superior environments. In California, comprehensive pomological research in strawberry plant breeding and production physiology in the University of California (Davis) Department of Plant Sciences has resulted in cultivars and cultural practices that are directly responsible for the state’s position as the world’s largest strawberry producer, accounting for more than 80% of the strawberries produced in North America. The competitive position currently held by California strawberry growers can be traced to use of cultivars that have broad environmental adaptation, use of innovative production systems that maximize yield, fruit quality, and harvest efficiency, and use of pest and pathogen-free soil environments.

However, agricultural markets and production environments are not static: currently, the California strawberry industry faces the combined challenges of an increasingly competitive global economy, rising production and regulatory costs, decreasing availability of farmland and water, and consolidation of supermarket chains.

The objectives of our ongoing program are focused on the development of improved cultivars that meet the specific needs of the California industry, and simultaneous development of the cultural systems required for optimizing new cultivar performance. Our intent is to balance the effort dedicated to obtaining short-term solutions with that aimed at maintaining progress in solving ongoing or long-term problems.