Greenhouse gas emissions and energy use in UK-grown short-day strawberry (Fragaria xananassa Duch) crops
Reducing greenhouse gas emissions and optimizing energy consumption are important for mitigating climate change and improving resource use efficiency. Strawberry (Fragaria xananassa Duch) crops are a key component of the UK soft fruit sector and potentially resource-intensive crops. This is the first study to undertake a detailed environmental impact assessment of all methods of UK strawberry production. A total of 14 systems with six additional sub-systems grown for between 1 and 3 years were identified. They were defined by the growing of short-day (Junebearer) or everbearer varieties, organic production, covering with polytunnels or grown in the open, soil-grown (with or without fumigation) or container-grown (with peat or coir substrate) and summer or spring planted. Pre-harvest, the global warming potential varied between 1·5 and 10·3 t CO2 equiv/ha/crop or 0·13 and 1·14 t CO2 equiv/t of class 1 fruit. Key factors included the use of tunnels, mulch and irrigation, sterilization of soil with fumigants and the use of peat substrate. Seasonal crops without covers grown where rotation of sufficient length reduced Verticillium (system 4) were the most efficient. System 4a (that did not use mulch) emitted 0·13 t CO2 equiv/t of class 1 fruit. A second or third cropping year in soil-grown systems prolonged the effect of mulch and soil fumigants. Greenhouse gases from system 4 (with mulch) averaged 0·30 t CO2 equiv/t of class 1 fruit after 3 years of cropping compared to 0·63 and 0·36 t CO2 equiv/t after 1 and 2 years, respectively.