Pre-harvest effects on lettuce quality

Lettuce is an important horticultural crop in Australia, with an annual production over 160 million tonnes and a total gross value of $140 million. Lettuce is regularly purchased by 80% of consumers in Australia.

The key quality attributes for whole and fresh-cut lettuce are moisture loss, shrivelling, colour (browning, bleaching of the green colour), off-odours, and off-flavour formation, breakdown and microbiological contamination.

This fact sheet will assist you to address these key quality attributes through important pre-harvest crop management such as developing a crop planting schedule, mineral nutrition, tip burn management, deficit irrigation, floating row covers and light.