What is in this article?:
- Several Santa Barbara County, Calif. strawberry growers are dealing with pallidosis-related decline disease in some strawberry fields this summer.
- Strawberry grower Jerry Cardenas of Santa Maria lost about $300,000 due to the disease by late July.
- Pallidosis is a viral disease which requires several viruses to combine to cause the disease.
CALIFORNIA STRAWBERRY grower Jerry Cardenas, left, Big J Produce, and pest control adviser John Gracia, AG RX, both of Santa Maria, examine plants affected by pallidosis-related decline disease of strawberry on Cardenas’ farm operation.
Gomez crop damage
A few miles north of Guadalupe in San Luis Obispo County, Viridiana Gomez stood by her pick-up parked next to a 13-acre field of San Andreas strawberries grown by the Gomez family.
Viridiana’s father, Juan Gomez, is president of Del Campo Berry Farms, based in Santa Maria.
This is the Gomez family’s first crop of strawberries. The transplants were planted last October. The Gomez’s first noticed the plants changing colors in March. Two to three weeks later some plants were dying.
“When we first saw a problem, we didn’t have a clue on the cause,” Viridiana said. “We thought it might be a soil problem or a chemical issue.”
The Gomez’s PCA took a sample which was submitted to a lab for analysis. The sample came back positive for pallidosis.
About two-thirds of the Gomez crop has been lost to pallidosis. The strawberry crop was grown for the juice market. Dead plants were removed. New transplants were planted.
“The field looks like its getting better now,” Gomez said.
Strawberries are nearly a $2 billion crop in California.