Sweet success for Ceres-funded strawberry decision support system

Ceres is pleased to have supported researchers at the University of Hertfordshire in the successful commercialisation of their decision support system for strawberry powdery mildew, by providing both translational funding for technology validation and interface development. The system, which combines humidity and temperature readings to inform strawberry growers on the optimum time to spray for effective control, was licensed to Agri-tech Services earlier this year and is now available for growers, providing a real boost to the UK strawberry industry.

Strawberry powdery mildew, one of the most devastating strawberry diseases, can cause yield losses up wards of 20%, equating to £56m per year across the UK strawberry industry. Ceres funding enabled the translation of this University of Hertfordshire technology from a research tool to commercial product by supporting both the development of a grower-friendly user interface and large-scale on-farm testing. Growers in the Ceres-funded trials saved about £300/ha from reduced fungicide costs by using the decision support system. Through better disease control, this decision support system helps growers to improve yields, reduce food waste and optimise integrated pest management with the associated environmental benefits.

This project is just one of the exciting agri-tech innovations in the Ceres project pipeline, which are being supported with ongoing translational funding and commercialisation expertise, to bring new agri-tech innovations from the lab to the field.