Evaluation of integrated strawberry production field recording process in Atibaia, São Paulo State, Brazil
Abstract: Integrated strawberry production (ISP) is a system that optimizes planting techniques, management, harvest and post harvest to ensure high quality and food safety. It is a voluntary program coordinated by Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply in Brazil and by Embrapa Environment in São Paulo state. In order to reach ISP certification, growers must follow ISP rules and keep traceability notes of several procedures. The objective of this paper was to evaluate the mandatory requirements of the recording process in four ISP Demonstration Units (DU) conduced in Atibaia, São Paulo state, Brazil, in 2010 growing season as a management tool to help the growers to improve their performance. Each ISP DU, including a Central one, was conducted by a grower who attended the trainings and received technical assistance by the ISP program. At the end of the 2010 growing season, the field notebooks from March to December were collected and analyzed. The ISP field notebooks were evaluated with respect to compliance with the mandatory requirements of 15 tables related to registration of plant general information; diseases, mite pests, insect pests and natural enemies monitoring; pesticide application; soil and plant tissue analysis; correction and maintenance fertilization; irrigation and fertigation records; weather registration; harvest; machinery and implements list and revision; monthly visits of the technical manager. Each of the 15 evaluated items received a score according to the adequacy of the recording, where: 0 = no information (blank), 1 = incomplete information, 2 = complete information. Average and standard deviation were calculated for each evaluated item. Theaverage score achieved by the growers ranged from 0.9 to 1.3 (close to 1), which represents incomplete information. Although growers were not completely able to take the necessary notes, they surpassed their previous practice of not making any record. Central DU reached the highest average score among all of ISP DUs. The constant presence of the technical manager and the practical trainings in this area resulted in this higher score. All growers were able to complete (average 2) plant general information and pesticide application tables. Correction and maintenance fertilization tables were almost completed (average 1.8 and 1.5, respectively) for all growers. Machinery and implements list and revision tables had major problems in being completed (average 0), followed by weather registration (average 0.3) and harvest (average 0.5) tables, indicating necessity of improvement. Diseases, mite pests, insect pests, natural enemies, irrigation and fertigation records achieved average scores from 1 to 1.3 (incomplete). These results were presented to the growers, in order to carry out corrective actions for the next harvest season. They could improve their performance and reached ISP certification in December 2011. This evaluation provided a useful tool to indicate the critical points in the records of the ISP field notebooks. In the 2010 growing season, growers in general, were not quite able to take the necessary notes, but could receive orientation to improve their performance and achieve ISP certification in 2011.