Making Profit from Strawberries
Strawberries are in great demand among consumers, especially when it’s time for them to ripen.
People buy them not only to eat healthy berries but also to make preserves.
The season itself lasts for 1 – 1.5 months and entrepreneurs who work in this line of business, trying to extract maximum profit in this time period. Of course, selling strawberries is best in the high season, then the price tag per kilogram of this berry increases by one and a half to two times, but the cost of its production grows in proportion to this figure.
It is worth noting that the business of growing strawberries can be attributed to the category of those that are perfectly realized in home conditions. Having at least a small plot of land near the house, from 10 hundredths and above, you can already safely consider this business idea as an option for making money.
Let’s look at the main methods of growing this berry and determine which approach is better for a beginner and what is better to give up at the first stages of doing business.
There are three main types of technology:
- in the open ground.
- In protected ground.
- In closed ground.
All of them have their own features, which should be clearly understood by the novice agronomist.
The first option is the cultivation of strawberries on the open ground. Such a business is quite common in our country, primarily due to the ease of implementation in practice and the minimum cost to maintain it. Yes, the yield of berries in such conditions is slightly lower than in other production technology options, but on the other hand, you can significantly increase the volume and through them to get a fairly high profit. In simple terms, it is profitable to grow strawberries in the garden, but still not without its disadvantages. The main risk factor is the weather conditions. Indeed, a slight drop in temperature below freezing in spring after sprouting plants or hail with a squall wind can damage up to 50% of the crop, and there are worse situations. The second negative is the number of growing cycles.
As experts say, in the open ground, this berry can grow for 3 years, after which it is better to change the soil, by changing one vegetable garden to another, or plant other crops in this place, perfectly suitable grain crops. It is not desirable to have solanaceous crops such as potatoes, tomatoes, etc. growing there before planting.
As in any business, there are many pitfalls, about which it is best to learn in advance. For example, it is very important to choose a location. Strawberries are very sensitive to moisture levels, especially in the upper ball of soil, near the rootstock. Strawberry roots start to freeze already after reaching a temperature of -10 degrees Celsius.
Planting is on the principle of 25 – 35 cm is the distance between plants in a row and about 90 – 100 cm distance between rows. Watering the planting should be done 3 – 4 times a week, but when the plant begins to bloom, then it is advisable to stop, but if the soil is very dry, you can water a little bit.
The second option is protected ground. This is the format of growing strawberries in a greenhouse. The design of the greenhouse is made of a frame, which is covered with either film or polycarbonate. Also equipped with drip irrigation and vents for airing and regulating the temperature inside the room. This is the most advantageous approach for the beginner. It also includes the possibility of an earlier harvest and the partial sale of it at inflated prices at the beginning of the season.
This format eliminates the disadvantages of open ground. Firstly, it is greater protection from various weather phenomena and the maintenance of a positive temperature inside the greenhouse, which eliminates the loss of crops during frosts. Secondly, the greenhouse can form beds and either replace the soil in the beds or use a special compost of peat sand and soil, which allows you to grow strawberries with proper fertilization for many years. Thus, with a small investment, you can get a yield increase of 20% – 25%, which has a positive impact on profit. Keep in mind that you can also use a smaller plot for such technology if you organize a two-level system of planting strawberries.
But it is not without disadvantages, too. With this technology, you will not be able to work in winter and late autumn, since the design of greenhouses is not designed for this.
The third option is opening a business for growing strawberries indoors. For this, you will need a heated room. The price tag on the cost of production increases due to utility bills. You will need to recreate the necessary microclimate and lighting for the plants, and electricity and gas for heating can increase the price tag on the berries several times. Focusing on Ukraine and Russia, it is safe to say that this method of berry production is not very suitable for our regions, and therefore in most cases is not profitable. You may ask why? It’s simple, in wintertime, the cost of 1 kg of product is about $ 6.5 – $ 8.5. Our people are not too willing to spend that kind of money on this product, plus the cost of production increases to $ 1.2 – $ 1.5. Whereas with open ground $0.3 – $0.5.
The distrust of winter strawberries plus the high cost makes the idea of using a seared facility costly and very slow to pay off. Of course, it is possible to negotiate the delivery of strawberries to processing plants, but as a rule, the terms of cooperation in this format for the entrepreneur in this area are not profitable at all.
One of the most popular methods of application of closed ground is Dutch technology. Its essence is that the strawberries are planted in plastic bags filled with soil and fertilizer. Under the plants are cut holes, and summed up drip irrigation. They are also placed in several levels, and only high-yielding varieties are grown in this way.
There are also alternative methods of increasing profitability and faster self-repayment of the business as a whole, in addition to greenhouses, they can accelerate the process of cultivation for 3-4 weeks. For example, covering the site with agrovoloknom. This method does not require a large financial investment and is quite effective.
We have already said above that strawberries can be grown at home, for example, to formalize a greenhouse. In such cases, hydroponics technology is used. It allows you to get a crop without the soil of the earth, and the roots of the plant are placed in the water, which is poured into plastic containers.
Varieties of strawberries for business
Once you have chosen the technology, it is important not to make a mistake with the choice of variety. The main parameters on which agronomists evaluate the quality of the plant: yield, presentation of berries, ripening period, ability to store and transport, as well as resistance to disease. Experienced entrepreneurs have selected a few of the most popular varieties of berries and use them every year, and only sometimes try something new and more effective in terms of yield.
So, in order to trade throughout the selling season, you need to include in your business plan for growing strawberries the three best varieties of strawberries:
Early ones: Olvia, Alba, Clery.
medium-ripening: Arose, Marmalade, Asia.
Among the large assortment of different varieties that are on the market, I would like to recommend the variety Olvia. It is early and excellent for business.
Of the main advantages of this variety can be highlighted:
- early variety, allows you to sell products at the beginning of the season, when the price of strawberries is still high.
- Variety is resistant to various climatic changes.
- Good taste and excellent presentation.
- Yield up to 1 kg of produce per plant.
And also the percentage of yield of marketable berries is 90% – 100%. In addition, it is a good material for breeding seedlings. Olvia can be considered one of the best honeycomb strawberries for running a small business, with small areas of the greenhouse or vegetable garden.
If you are looking for varieties with similar parameters and high transportability then pay attention to the following types: Honey, Alba, Clery.
There are also strawberry varieties that bring a harvest several times a year, they are also called remontant. They bear fruit from June to October. These types of berries allow you to increase your company’s profits by selling them out of season when the price tag in stores is going up. Popular remontant varieties are Portola, San Andreas.