Economic effect of foil mulching in organic raspberry production

Iliana Krishkova and Elena Tsolova
Agricultural Academy, Institute of Agriculture, 2500 Kyustendil, Bulgaria

Abstract

Krishkov, I. & Tsolova, E. (2020). Economic effect of foil mulching in organic raspberry production. Bulg. J. Agric. Sci., 26 (2), 339–345

The present study was conducted in an experimental biologically managed plantation, created in the autumn of 2010 in the experimental station field at Kostinbrod, affiliated to the Institute of Agriculture (Kyustendil, Bulgaria), during the period 2017–2018. The experiment was set up with raspberry plants of the Willamette variety by the method of the long plots. Four treatments, each in four replicates, were investigated: V0, control (flat bed, no mulching); V1, high bed, no mulching; V2, high bed, gray polyethylene mulching; V3, high bed, black polyethylene mulching. Foliar spraying with registered by the Bulgarian Food Safety Agency (BFSA) organic fertilizers were performed during the growing season. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of an innovative technology for organic raspberry production with the use of polyethylene foil mulching and its impact on yield structure and economic performance. The additional costs incurred for the polyethylene foil mulching in the organic production of raspberries were estimated at 119 lv/da. Higher average yield was obtained in the mulching treatments. In the black polyethylene mulching, the additional fruit production reached 157 kg/da. The gross production of the experimental treatment was also higher than that of the control: 4.4% in the high-bed treatment; 32.7% in the high-bed treatment mulched with silver-gray polyethylene, and 53.8% in the high-bed treatment, mulched with black polyethylene. Therefore, from an economic point of view, the organic production of raspberries of the Willamette variety with black polyethylene mulching was the most effective among the treatments examined in this study. The findings of the present investigation can serve as a foundation and complement for further research on improving the economic performance parameters of organic raspberry production in Bulgaria through optimization of alternative agricultural management practices and contribute to the database of experimental results obtained on that topic across different agro-ecological, species, and varietal conditions in Europe and globally.

Keywords: organic raspberry; production; mulching; economic parameters; cost-effectiveness

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