CARC Helps Limited Resource Farmers Grow Organic Strawberries

January 23, 2017

Weather station, soil moisture sensing data loggers, and strawberry plants under high tunnelOn December 21 and 22 of last month, CARC researcher scientists Peter Ampim, Ripendra Awal, and Almoutaz El Hassen from the Plant and Natural and Environmental Resources Systems and two graduate students Abayomi Adekanmbi and Oluwafemi Paul Olaleye from the College of Engineering installed 60 soil moisture sensors (thirty in the high tunnel and thirty in the open field sections of the experiment) and a weather station to monitor soil moisture within and below the root system of a strawberry research trial and at the University Research Farm.

Twelve digital data loggers will continue to log these sensors until the end of the cropping season at 15-minute intervals. Data generated by these sensors will be used to determine irrigation requirements, plant water use, and excess water losses below the rootzone of the organically grown strawberry under Southeast Texas conditions. This information will be shared with limited resource farmers in the mid-southern states, especially in Texas and Arkansas.

Ripendra Awal and Peter Ampim during the installation of Soil Moisture SensorsThese research activities are part of the research project “Evaluating Organic Pest Control Products for Strawberries in Combination with High and Low Tunnels for Limited Resource Farmers in the Mid-South” funded by a $246,413 grant from the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program, SARE, and on which research scientist Peter Ampim is a Co-Investigator.

The objective of this 3-year multidisciplinary and multi-state project is to evaluate selected commercially available biocontrol and organically labeled products for controlling economically damaging diseases and insects in strawberries. This research also includes on-farm trials with cooperating organic growers and with controlled trials at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research & Extension Center in Lubbock, the Prairie View A&M University at Prairie View, and the University of Arkansas Research Farm in Fayetteville.

Additional equipment will be installed on the plots of this experiment to monitor nutrient concentrations within and below the rootzone. Detailed information about the project can be found on this SARE webpage.

Weather station, soil moisture sensing data loggers, and strawberry plants under high tunnel.

Photos

[Top-left] Weather station, soil moisture sensing data loggers, and strawberry plants under high tunnel.
[Bottom-right] Ripendra Awal and Peter Ampim during the installation of Soil Moisture Sensors.
Dr. Ali Fares
Ali Fares, Ph.D.
Interim Associate Director, Cooperative Agricultural Research Center
alfares@pvamu.edu
(936) 261-5019