Strawberry flower


Coir substrate recycling

Tasmania’s berry industry has increasing embraced hydroponics and protected cropping to allow growers to reliably grow the best berries. These systems use nutrients solutions instead of soil substrates and require solid substrate materials, such as peat, rockwool or coconut fibre, to provide physical support for plants. Coconut fibre, or coir, is the most regularly used substrate material, and is sourced from South East Asia where it is a waste product of the coconut industry.

Growers have experienced significant challenges with coir costs and freight supplies, prompting the industry to look at how it can reuse used coir substrate. Recent innovations in sterilisation methods mean that spent coir can now feasibly be cleaned of pests and diseases on site, and combined with additional substrate materials sourced locally to provide an improved planting medium.

This project will investigate commercial recycled coir substrate blends and sterilisation processes useable by Tasmanian businesses, and trial the these blends under commercial conditions to determine their effects on plant health, productivity and business performance.

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Strawberry nursery tray plants

Fruit Growers Tasmania and Berries Australia hosted a webinar presented by Klass Plas focussed on strawberry nursery tray/plug plant quality on Wednesday 28 February 2024.

Klaas is a strawberry expert from the Netherlands with over 30 years of experience in all aspects of strawberry production. Through his company Berrykonsult, he works with growers across Europe, Canada and Australia.

Klass specialises in current and future integrated pest management practices in strawberries, and has extensive experience in strawberry nursery plant quality.

In the webinar, he explained the strawberry nursery tray/plug plant best practise in Europe and how different production techniques are used to extend the season there.

In particular, he explained how growers use different sized nursery plants to extend their production season. Large nursery plug plants are used for high volume in a short production window, medium size plug plants for midterm season production and smaller plug plants are used for longer season production.

Klaas also explained the benefits of larger nursery plants which are supplied to growers with multiple crowns which gives early fruit production and larger yields and he talked about establishing tray/plug plants in the field (substrate and soil).

View webinar

Flower mapping

Flower mapping is used to describe the development of the flower. Flower mapping is most commonly used in strawberries but has been known to be used for rubus, orchids, cereals and other flowering crops. 

Strawberry Flower Mapping is a great tool to predict:

  • Yield
  • Number of potential trusses
  • Position of trusses
  • Height of trusses

Fruit Growers Tasmania and Berries Australia hosted a webinar with Klaas Plas from Berry Konsult in the Netherlands on Tuesday, 20 September 2022.

View Webinar    View Presentation Slides 


Klaas Plas has also provided Fruit Growers Tasmania with some resources which are valuable to watch before the full flower mapping webinar. 

Video One — an interview with the developer of Flower mapping: Bert Meurs from WUR University in the Netherlands

Video Two — a how-to of flower mapping

If growers have any questions for Klaas he encourages them to email him via