US: Louisiana strawberry crop coming early and looking good

Louisiana strawberries are coming in at a steady pace. According to LSU AgCenter agent Mary Helen Ferguson, the producers are off to a good start this season, with no extreme temperatures so far. Experts with the AgCenter say favorable weather and new strawberry varieties are helping growers start bringing the crop in earlier than in past years.

In the past, when the growers planted different varieties, they normally would start to pick in January or February and expect the crop to last from six weeks to two months. But with the new varieties they now plant, the growers start picking in November and expect to have strawberries through mid-May.

The number of growers in the state continues to dwindle, Ferguson said. “We have about 10 or 11 growers in Tangipahoa Parish that I’m aware of, and about five in Livingston Parish. I’m not aware of any major problems with the crop so far this season. The growers I’ve talked to seem pretty satisfied with how things are going.” reports that strawberry production in the state has been on the decline for the past decade, mainly due to a shortage of labor, urbanization and growers advancing in age. According to the LSU AgCenter’s 2018 Louisiana Summary of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the Louisiana strawberry industry involved 47 commercial growers who produced berries on 218 acres for a gross farm value of $8.74 million.

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