Research will maximise Malling Centenary strawberry's potential

Agronomic trials of the Malling Centenary strawberry have begun, helping growers to achieve the variety's full potential, according to the company which markets the variety.

Image: Meiosis
Image: Meiosis

Malling Centenary is starting to replace the previously widely-grown standards Elsanta and Sonata, but is "a different animal to its predecessors", according to Meiosis, based at East Malling in Kent.

Initial results of a range of varieties at Belgium's Hoogstraten Test Centre show that Malling Centenary benefits from a different feeding regime to that used for Elsanta.

Here, Malling Centenary tray plants fed with a feed tailored to the Clery variety not only gave a significantly higher fruit yield than those given an Elsanta-type feed, they responded better to the higher feed level than any other variety in the trial.

Further trials are under way to establish the nutrient mix and levels best suited to producing a tray plant that can reliably deliver the high class 1 yieldsof which Malling Centenary is capable, along with trials of feeding regimes for fruiting crops.

Bred by East Malling Strawberry Breeding Club, the June-bearing variety was released commercially in 2013.

"Its high class 1 fruit yield combined with good berry size and a simple truss architecture help to offset the increased labour costs and the struggle to maintain sufficient pickers to harvest the crop at the optimum time," Meiosis says.

Malling Centenary is also breaking into the German market, where commercial production is still mainly in the soil. Teunis Sikma of fruit marketing company Frutania said: "The good picking speeds achieved with Malling Centenary coupled with the premium fruit quality and high percentage of Class 1 are the prime reasons for its uptake."

Growers for Frutania are producing over 25 hectares of Malling Centenary this season, mostly grown on raised beds under tunnels.

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