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Oregon State University berry authority Bernadine Strik presented on her research at the American Society of Horticultural Science's annual meeting Aug. 3 in Chicago.
She presented her 2022 ARS B.Y. Morrison Memorial Lecture, "Increased Organic Production of Berry Crops—an Example of Impactful Research, Extension and Teaching at a Land Grant Institution," according to an Agricultural Research Service news release.
"The production value of certified organic berry crops in the United States was $990 million in 2019, a 12-fold increase over the previous 10 years and a reflection of consumer-driven demand for organic berries; certified organic blueberries in Oregon and Washington account for over 50 percent of this production." Strik said, according to the release. "The long-term research on organic systems that has been conducted at Oregon State University since 2006 and the dissemination of its outcomes through extension and teaching have had large impacts on increasing yield and reducing input costs."
Strik began her career with Oregon State University in 1987, when the standard in the agricultural industry was to plant blueberry bushes four feet apart in rows either mulched with sawdust or having bare ground without trellises, the release reported. Due to Strik's research, blueberries are now grown between two-and-a-half to three feet apart with the support of trellises, and weed mat mulch has become more common.
Strik's research and educational efforts have seen rewards in the berry crop sectors both in Oregon and around the world, according to the release. Her publications are used as manuals for growing berries such as blueberries, kiwifruits and table grapes for large commercial enterprises, small farms and conventional and organic home gardeners.