By Clint Thompson
North Carolina (N.C.) strawberries are in the ground, but not without a delayed start to the season.
Austin Wrenn, president of the North Carolina Strawberry Association, confirmed during the Southeast Strawberry Expo last week in Asheville, North Carolina, that supply chain issues contributed to some growers not receiving their plants until much later than normal. It could impact production later this season.
“Specifically, this year we’ve had a lot of issues with late plantings. A lot of the plant material that we use here in the state comes from Canada. It started in Canada because we want to reduce the disease risk. Then we bring it down here and it goes to the individual farms. We also have quite a bit that comes from California,” Wrenn said. “Due to some logistical issues as every industry is dealing with this year, we were not able to get a lot of that plant material on time. There’s been a lot of late plantings.”
Wrenn said some growers were on time with their plantings, but others were as late as a month getting their plants in the ground. The majority were 1 to 2 weeks behind.
“With strawberries it’s very important that you get that crop in the ground as soon as you can and within your planting window. That’s going to change depending on where you’re from, what state, what region of North Carolina or whatever state you’re from. For us, a lot of growers in central part of North Carolina want to plant over Oct. 2 to 10, somewhere in there. Some didn’t get their plants until Nov. 1,” Wrenn said.
“There’s going to be some smaller plants this year. Weather has a huge impact. If we have a warmer winter, those plants may still be able to grow out before going dormant and have a good crop. It’s all dependent on the weather.”