Strawberry Farming Project Report, Cost, Profit Guide

Introduction to Strawberry Farming Project Report

If you are planning for profitable strawberry farming, then you can go through this Strawberry Farming Project Report.

Strawberry is the fruit obtained from a flowering plant belonging to a hybrid genus (Fragaria x Ananassa). Basically, the cultivated variety of Strawberry is a cross between two different varieties i.e. Fragaria Chiloensis from western America and Fragaria Virginiana from Eastern America. This is a plant native to temperate regions. The first fruit was grown wild in France, later it was cultivated for various purposes. It is now being cultivated widely throughout Europe, United States, and Canada.  In India, we can find Strawberry farms in Nainital, Dehradun, Mahabaleshwar, Kashmir valley, Kalimpong and Bangalore. The fruit of this plant is famous for its fragrance and flavor. The use of Strawberry is found in different products like food, beverages, confections, perfumes, and cosmetics.

The Strawberry farming business can be profitable only if it is marketed well. Farmers in India face difficulty in managing the warm winter climates. The All India Strawberry Growers’ Association is greatly concerned about the decrease in the production of Strawberries during the past few years and is taking measures to improve the quality and quantity of production. Strawberry Farming in Greenhouse or Strawberry Farming in Polyhouse adapts similar conditions of outdoor Strawberry cultivation. However, Hydroponic Greenhouse Strawberry farming will have a different set of procedures.

This Strawberry farming guide or  Strawberry farming project report gives details about its farming methods and at the end of the discussion, one can find the investment (Cost of cultivation of Strawberry in India) and profit details (Strawberry farming profit per acre in India) for farming Strawberries.

Plant and its properties of Strawberry

The Strawberry is a low-growing herbaceous plant having a fibrous root system and a crown with basal leaves. The plant is also considered to be perennial in nature because its leaves remain green even during winter. The leaves of the plant have saw-tooth edges with a hairy texture. The flowers of the plant are either white or reddish in colour. The flowers grow in small clusters on a slender stalk arising from the axils of the leaves. The roots of the plant become woody as the plant ages. The mother crown of the plant develops runners that touch the root and the ground; this is how the plants grow vegetatively.

Strawberry is not a true berry, but it is considered to be an accessory fruit. The fruit of Strawberry consists of too many seeds and develops from the enlarged flower receptacle. The fruit is heart-shaped and the flesh within is either white or dark red depending on the cultivar. The length of the fruit ranges between 2 to 5 cm.

The fruit is expected to contain very few calories and carbohydrates. They also have low monosaturated fat content but do contain omega-3 fatty acids and polysaturated fat. The fruit is also good in protein and mineral content.

Cultivars or varieties of Strawberry

Strawberry Varieties.
Strawberry Varieties.

Strawberries are generally distinguished into three different categories based on the period they grow such as June bearing, ever-bearing, and day-neutral. There are many varieties of Strawberries available, but out of those some resistant varieties used for cultivation are:

Chandler

  • Fruits are large with a firm skin
  • The weight of the fruit is 18 g
  • Fruits have good flavour and color
  • Used in desserts
  • Tolerant to viral attacks and physical damages

Tioga

  • The weight of the berry is 9 g
  • The fruit matures very fast
  • Tolerant to viral attacks

Torrey

  • The fruit is large with normal firmness
  • Produce too many runners
  • The weight of the berry is 6 g
  • The fruit is of good quality
  • Tolerant to attacks

Selva

  • Fruit is obtained even in the off-season
  • The fruit is large with conical or block-shaped
  • The weight of the fruit is 18 g
  • Good for desserts

Belrubi

  • Fruit is bright red in colour and conical in shape
  • The taste of the fruit is sweet with an acidic tinge
  • The weight of the berry is 15 g
  • Good plant for runner production

Fern

  • Fruit is a day-neutral and early ripening variety
  • Overbearing variety
  • Red coloured fruit with medium size
  • Excellent flavour
  • Fruit is sweet or slightly acidic to taste
  • The weight of the berry is 25 g

Pajaro

  • Red-colored fruit with large size and firm skin
  • Tolerant to attacks and diseases

Some ever-bearing varieties of Strawberries are Albion, Aromas, Diamante, Everest, Evie2, Evie 3 Fort Laramie, Hecker, Mara des Bois, Monterey, Portola, Quinault, Tribute, Tristar, San Andreas, and seascape

Soil and climatic requirements for growing strawberries

Strawberry Cultivation Practices.
Strawberry Cultivation Practices.

It is very clearly known that Strawberries are grown under the sun, but high summer temperatures have a negative impact on fruit size and quality. Cool temperature favors fruit growth. The roots are also expected to experience less stress in cool climatic conditions. Environmental parameters like temperature, photoperiod, and light intensity are of extreme importance during Strawberry cultivation. The optimum day temperature should be around 22 to 25˚C and the night temperature is expected to be around 7 to 13˚C. Frost is dangerous for the plants.

Strawberry plants should never be allowed to wilt due to lack of water in the soil, so a sufficient volume of water is to be supplied to the plants. In dry areas or areas with winter rainfall supplemental irrigation is to be provided during the summer. Too much rain or water supply can split the fruit, so care must be taken to supply water just necessary for the plants.

The plants require well-drained sandy loam or loamy soil with an average pH range of around5 to 5.5. If the land is prepared well before planting and if a sufficient amount of compost or organic manure is added to the soil, then the plants can be grown in clayey soils as well. Soils which are too saline in nature and have a water logging problem are not suitable for cultivating Strawberries.

Land preparation and planting  of strawberries

The land selected for cultivating Strawberries should have adequate air and water drainage facilities. Low lying areas should not be preferred for these plants as they are subject to frost and other damages. Land that was previously used for planting solanaceous crops like Tomato, Potato, Pepper, and Eggplant, etc. should be avoided for farming Strawberries else they should be fumigated properly before planting Strawberry plants. Land which was used for planting sod should also be avoided.

Stones, weeds, etc. in the land area should be removed and it should be ploughed thoroughly to improve aeration. Matured compost is added to the soil for improving its fertility. Sometimes lime is also added to the soil structure to correct its pH range.

Planting strawberries should be done carefully such that the crown of the plant is above the soil surface. Proper depth estimation should be made during planting because too deep or too shallow planting can be dangerous. The planting is generally done in double rows with an in-row and diagonal spacing of 20 x 20 cm. The spacing between the plants should be around 30 x 30 cm for early planting and 10 x 10 cm for late planting. Depending on the planting density a maximum of 66,000 plants can be accommodated in a hectare of land. Before planting, raised beds are prepared on the land and are mulched with plastic material. The dimensions of the raised bed should be such that the width is 60 cm, height is 45 cm and the pathway is 50 cm. The mulch is a black plastic sheet of about 100 m in length, 1 m wide, and 30 to 40 microns thickness. Organic substances like straw can also be used as mulch and are expected to be much cheaper than plastic mulch material. Transplanting is done usually in the months of March-April, September-October, or January-February. Apart from the raised bed method Strawberries can also be planted in other methods like matted row, hill system, spaced row, plastic mulch base, etc.

Propagation of Strawberries

Propagation of Strawberry plants is done through runners. Production of runners should be done separately because they tend to produce true-to-type plants and carry most of the diseases to the new plants. Runners for Strawberry plants should be grown on land where Strawberry plants have not been grown for 3 to 4 years. The runners from the plant should be picked in the month of September and planted into polybags containing a mixture of soil, sand, and well-decomposed farmyard manure (FYM) for about one month.

Manure and fertilizer requirement for growing Strawberries

Lime and phosphorous elements should not be added to the farm after planting if they have already been applied during the land preparation. The farm has to be supplemented using nitrogen and potassium fertilizers throughout the farming season. The level of potassium and nitrogen within the soil should be around 20 to 30 mg/kg and 40 to 80 mg/kg respectively.

Fertigation is the best and economical way of fertilizing plants. 12: 61:00 of NPK @ 500 grams should be applied every alternate day after 20 to 50 days of planting, similarly the remaining days 13:00:45 of NPK @ 500 grams should be supplied. After 50 to 60 days of planting 19: 19: 19 of NPK fertilizer @ 500 grams should be supplied on alternate days (Monday, Wednesday & Friday) and calcium nitrate @ 250 grams is supplied on the remaining days (Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday). 60 to 100 days after planting of Strawberry plants, 16:08:24 of NPK @ 500 grams is supplied on alternate days and 00:00:50 of NPK @ 250 grams should be supplied on the other days. The plants should be supplemented with 12 g of micronutrients once a week.

Irrigation requirements for growing Strawberries

The time and frequency of irrigation depend on certain factors like soil type, water quality, the weather of the location, season, type of fruit, mulch material, and the type of irrigation system used. If planting is done on sandy soils, then water is supplied in small quantities at regular intervals of time i.e. 2 to 3 days. For clayey or loamy soil types, heavy irrigation is given with an interval of 4 to 5 days between each cycle. Strawberry plants grown in warmer climates need more irrigation when compared to those in colder areas. Different irrigation systems like overhead sprinklers, micro-sprinklers, and drip irrigation can be used for Strawberry farming.

If a drip system is being used, then it should have 1 or 2 lateral lines of 16 mm thickness and drippers should be attached at every 30 cm. The discharge rate from the drippers should be around 2 to 4 liters per hour.

Intercultural practices of Strawberry Garden

Strawberry Plant Flowering.
Strawberry Plant Flowering.

Weeds in the farmland can be either controlled by mechanical or chemical techniques. Hand hoeing is a labor-intensive task and is not generally preferred on Strawberry lands.

The materials used for mulching the farmland are paddy straw and black polythene film. Both these materials ensure good weed control, early cropping, reduce rotting and increase the yield of the crop.

To control the plant density, maintain the plant beds, and remove the older plants renovation of the Strawberry plantings should be done. These Strawberry plants grow very fast and get overcrowded thereby giving space to diseases and lesser yield. Renovation can be done in the following ways:

  • After a week of the last pick, the leaves of the plants 1 inch above the crown area are removed through a mower.
  • Plants in the rows are thinned either by hoeing or by harrowing.
  • Rows are narrowed to 6 or 8-inch width.
  • The crops are fertilized after renovation.
  • Selected herbicides should be applied if necessary.
  • Light irrigation is given to stimulate new growth.

De-blossoming or removing the flowers is practiced to prevent fruiting and increase the production of runners.

Generally, runners from a plant are allowed to root along the rows until the formation of adequate crowns, but after that, all the excess runners should be removed from the rows.

Pest and disease management of Strawberry Orchard

Diseases normally occur in plants where the rainfall is above normal. Some common diseases found in the Strawberry plants are categorized into Foliage diseases like powdery mildew, leaf scorch, and spot; root diseases like verticillium wilt, black root rot, red stele, etc.; fruit rots like gray mold, anthracnose, rhizopus, leather rot, etc. All these can be either controlled using proper chemical treatment methods or can be prevented using cultural methods like proper plant spacing, avoiding fertilizers during spring, mulching the soil beds, removing plant debris from the farm and destroying it immediately, cooling the fruit immediately after harvest, using cultivar with high disease resistance, providing proper air between the plants, removing weeds, etc.

Common pests of Strawberry plants are white grubs, cutworms, and root weevils. These can be controlled by using proper chemical sprays. Fumigating the soil is also helpful in some cases. Organic or biological control measures like neem oil spray can also be used to prevent pests.

Harvesting and yield of Strawberries

Strawberry fruits are generally hand-harvested during the early morning or late afternoon when the temperatures are low. Fruits are picked only after attaining complete maturity i.e. taste of the fruit is sweet and the color is red. Harvesting is done either twice a week or every second day. Picking the fruit should be done using the forefinger and thumb. The fruit is detached by twisting about 2 cm from the stem. While picking care should be taken not to damage the fruits and so they are placed in containers without stacking. Fruits that are overripe should be stored separately. The collected fruits should be protected from the sun, warm wind, and dirt. Small and large fruits also should be separately handled. Fruits ripen during February-April in plain areas and during May-June in hilly areas.

Harvesting and Yield of Strawberries.
Harvesting and Yield of Strawberries.

Punnets of transparent plastic trays are used as general packaging material for Strawberries. The yield of the Strawberries varies according to season, locality, and cultivar. The maximum yield from a one-hectare Strawberry farm is expected to be around 25 tons.

Post-harvest handling of Strawberry fruits

Temperature is an important factor that determines the shelf life of a Strawberry. The temperature variations from harvest to sale have a great impact on marketing the produce. A warm atmosphere causes the fruit to get destroyed easily, so the best temperature to store these fruits is 0 to 2˚C. Generally, the fruits are pre-cooled within one hour of harvesting and then stored in refrigerators. The storing area should be cool and well-ventilated. Under proper storing conditions, the fruit of Strawberry can be preserved for 4 days. The shelf-life of unripe, red to pink colored fruits is around 7 to 10 days at 2˚C.

The fruits are wrapped with suitable wrapping material to create an artificial atmosphere, where oxygen is reduced and carbon dioxide is enhanced so as to maintain its quality. Wrapping the fruits helps reduce contamination and bruising.

Cost and Profit Analysis of Strawberry Farming Project/ Strawberry Farming Proejct Report

Economics of Strawberry Farming.
Economics of Strawberry Farming.

Economics of Strawberry production:

The investment details for farming Strawberries in one hectare of land are discussed here. It is estimated that the farming is done on a plain zone because the cost and labor required for other zones like ghat areas may differ from this estimate. There is also a possibility of family labor being involved in the farm operations, but here we assume that the labor is hired (both men and women). We also assume that the average wage of both the categories of laborers (men and women) is the same, but practically during project implementation, it is observed that depending on the state and location the charges or wages of men and women are different.

Assumptions of Strawberry Farming Project Report:

Labor wage per day: Rs 300 (varies in between Rs 250-400 per day).

Cost of Strawberry planting material: Rs 5 per piece.

Strawberry farming is a labor-intensive system and the details of labour required for the entire farming cycle are given here for reference.

Requirement of labour for farm activities Investment in Rs
16.21 days for ploughing and harrowing 4,863.00
15.64 days for collection of waste materials from the farm 4,692.00
28.78 days for manuring 8,634.00
43.12 days for raised bed preparation 12,936.00
50 days for planting Strawberries 15,000.00
34.80 days for fertilizer application 10,440.00
60.78 days for mulching and cutting of runners 18,234.00
305.59 days for weeding 91,677.00
111.73 days for irrigation 33,519.00
31 days for application of plant protection chemicals 9,300.00
711.55 days for harvesting 2,13,465.00
Total investment  4,22,760

 

Materials required for the farm Investment in Rs
20 pair days of Machine labour @ Rs 500 per pair day 10,000.00
190 quintals of manure@ Rs 10 per kg 1,90,000.00
160 kgs of nitrogen, 252 kgs of phosphorous, and 38 kgs of potassium fertilizers @ Rs 12 per kg 5,400.00
Cost of 53900 Strawberry planting materials 2,69,500.00
Cost of plant protection chemicals 10,000.00
Cost of irrigation system 75,000.00
Cost of 5 kgs of mulch material @ Rs 700 per kg 3,500.00
Total labour days during initial stages (530 days) 1,59,000.00
Total variable investment 7,22,400.00

The average produce of Strawberry from 1 hectare of land is: 10,000 kg

The average sale price of Strawberry per kg: Rs 150 (varies in between Rs 100-450 depending on the variety and quality of produce)

Total income from the farm is roughly estimated at around: Rs 15, 00,000.

The average profit from the farm is assumed to be: Rs 7, 77,600.

This profit is obtained in one or two years of planting. In addition to this income, there is a possibility of income being generated by the runners obtained from the farm (around 35,000 runners), which can be sold in the market. The investment details do not specify the land rental charges, transport costs, electricity, water, fencing, depreciation values, etc. It is important to note that even though the details of these things have not been mentioned here, but they should be considered during the practical implementation of the project.

Loans and subsidies for Strawberry Farming In India

Depending on the type of farm, the Horticulture Board has different schemes outlined for different states. It is advisable to refer to the Horticulture board website for exact details. Every component of the project is supported with different amounts of subsidies. The average subsidy is expected to be around 75-80% of all important crops. If you are serious about growing Strawberries commercially, it is advised to go for Strawberry farming training.

In case if you are interested in this: How To Grow Organic Lettuce.

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