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High Tunnels For Vegetable Production- Updates for 2013.

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Presentation on theme: "High Tunnels For Vegetable Production- Updates for 2013."— Presentation transcript:

1 High Tunnels For Vegetable Production- Updates for 2013

2 The NRCS EQIP Grant Program Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) Seasonal High Tunnel Initiative 2013 – In 2012 NRCS approved 227 applications around KY. – Have 1 year to implement the practice – Only paid when the tunnel is completed

3 Seasonal High Tunnel Initiative 2013 Three application deadlines – Early Winter (Jan) and Early Spring (March/April) Rolling application deadline Cannot start purchasing until approved and paperwork signed

4 Seasonal High Tunnel Initiative 2013 The maximum size is 5% of 1 acre or 2178 ft 2 – Realistically this means a 30 x 72 (2160 ft 2 ) tunnel Do not pay for materials and supplies just installation of equipment BUT you can install yourself – $2.37/ft 2 so $5,162 for a 30 x 72 tunnel – $2.84/ft 2 for historically underserved ($6,286) – Must be a kit from a manufacturer

5 Seasonal High Tunnel Initiative 2013 Can be fixed or movable, but have different payment schedule scenarios for each Supposed to have a 4 year life-span – 4 year plastic not structure – Within the 4 years you are responsible for repairs to tunnel – ull/national/programs/?&cid=stelprdb1046250 ull/national/programs/?&cid=stelprdb1046250 – Google “Eqip nrcs high tunnel”

6 Traditional Tunnels

7 Locating Tunnels For maximum and most uniform sunlight interception locate tunnels in a N-S orientation if at 40 o N or further south If above 40 o N orient E-W If multiple bay tunnels then orient N-S In winter E-W orientation tends to capture more light as sun is low in the horizon, but in spring it is distributed poorly in E-W orientation

8 Locating Tunnels Wind is also an issue – High winds can destroy tunnels – UPLIFT is important – anchoring tunnels – Consider wind breaks Single bay high tunnels oriented perpendicular to prevailing if structure has roll-up sides * Multi-bay high tunnels should be oriented parallel to prevailing winds

9 Tunnels and uplift Proper anchoring of tunnels is essential – Tunnels are basically a giant wing An 80 mph wind blowing perpendicular to a 28’ x 100’ tunnel can create an uplift force of 22,000 pounds or 220 lbs per foot Estimated a 30 x 72 tunnel would then be 15,840 lbs of uplift

10 Anchoring tunnels Assuming a maximum of 16,000 lbs of uplift – Subtract tunnel weight (2846 lbs without baseboards, endwalls, etc) – We need to account for about 13,000 lbs of anchoring – 18 bows with 2 anchor points is 36 total contact points – 360 lbs per contact point of resistance or 720 lbs per bow

11 Anchoring tunnels Should you concrete bows in? – yes for many cases “Earth Anchors”- 30” anchor 4” helix rated at 1500 to 2500 lbs vertical pull out “Telephone pole anchors”- rated at 14,000 lbs uplift

12 Wind Damage to greenhouses- bows anchored in concrete 70-80 mph

13 Wind Damage January 2013 ~ 35 mph wind

14 Wind Damage January 2013

15 High Tunnel Structural Supports

16 Lack of additional support

17 Plastic 4 mil is considered 1 year plastic 6 mil is considered 4 year plastic- – If it gets too hot >120 for a long period of time that cuts life of the plastic Super Strong Woven Poly- 11mil – Can outlast hail even and can be walked on – Costs 30-50% more Shade cloth – Is it worth it? Wouldn’t go more than 40%.

18 Infrared films IR films have a coating that block long-wave radiation back into tunnel – Typically this long-wave radiation goes right through plastic unless a barrier is present – One side of the plastic is coated with a film that keeps long-wave radiation in Often coated with a wetting agent to reduce condensation

19 Infrared films Bill Roberts (Rutgers Univ.) found that IR films showed a heat savings of up to 35% on clear cold days – Realistically this will be 15-20% over the course of a season (assuming a tightly sealed tunnel) – Only use on the inside layer of plastic IR Cost 32’ x 100’ $304 vs. $256 for non IR

20 Tunnel temperatures Air-gap between twin walled (2 layer plastic) reduces energy loss by 35-40% Energy loss due to condensation will be less on a 2 layer tunnel

21 High Tunnel Temp. When there is a lot of condensation present, which may evaporate, temperatures in the early morning may be several degrees cooler ambient outdoor temps Latent heat of vaporization OVER IRRIGATING

22 Fog/Condensation in a tunnel

23 End walls Double layer polycarbonate has about the same R value as double layer plastic – Single layer plastic has a very poor R value

24 End Walls

25 High Tunnel Venting Should have reasonable side walls for venting Ridge vents are not a great option – Some complete ridge vents are good, but expensive Taller tunnels tend to keep heat up away from plants – HAF-Horizontal air flow fans

26 HAF Fans

27 Help bring hot air down to plant level



30 Note this piece of plastic


32 No Crop 3 feet tall tomato 6 foot tall tomato Wind coefficients higher is more air flow 100% 85% 81% 71% 48% 100% 73% 45%

33 Tomatoes

34 Indeterminate or Determinate The most critical decision – Spacing will impact everything Disease, yield, working conditions, etc. – Indeterminate – 4 square feet per plant for trellised plants in a greenhouse* Based on lack of air movement and disease risk in tunnels move to 5.2 - 6 square feet per plant 4 foot centers and 15-18 inch spacing – Determinate –6.75 square feet per plant 4.5 ft centers with 18” in-row spacing This will give you 6-7 rows in a 30’ wide tunnel

35 5.5-6.0 feet


37 4.5 ft

38 Note- Indeterminate plants pruned to a central leader with leaves removed- facilitates closer spacing


40 Determinate tomatoes on 5’ centers

41 Pruning, training, etc. Typically prune determinate plants as you would in the field – If you prune them to a central leader you will ruin your yields Indeterminate plants prune

42 Keep leaves/vines off the ground

43 Cluster Pruning Cluster pruning – Leave 4 fruit per cluster early and then move to 5 fruit. – Prune off when pea size – Typically do not want more than 18-20 fruit on a plant Truss hooks on tomatoes

44 Leaf Pruning Keep 18-21 leaves on a plant Remove leaves up to cluster being harvested Remove any senescing leaves If too aggressive can rob fruit of essential nutrients – Depends on aggressiveness of variety too ‘Cobra’

45 Varieties Indeterminate – Big Beef – Trust (hydro) – Geronimo (hydro) – Heirlooms benefit from the tunnel, but results variable Determinate – Rocky Top – Empire – BHN 589 (fall) – Primo Red – Red Deuce

46 Parthenocarpic Tomatoes Have done well in Mississippi Do not need pollinators – Varieties (Territorial Seed) Legend Santiam Siletz Oregon Spring

47 Insect Management with High Tunnel Tomatoes

48 High-Tunnel Insect Pests Pests with Short-life cycles Fosters the rapid development of resistance to some pesticides Rapid recovery from sprays Need to manage pests/pesticides For safety For resistance management Opportunity for biological control Controlled environment Some of our best examples come from enclosed areas

49 Limited insecticides/miticides Without GH restriction Sevin Malathion Orthene Mustang max Pounce Baythroid Asana XL Proaxis Danitol Warrior Without GH restriction Admire Belay Venom AgriMek Distance/Knack Fulfill Dipel Courier Acramite

50 Limited insecticides/miticides With GH prohibition Diazinon Endosulfan Assail Platinum/Actara Radiant Proclaim Beleaf Rimon Intrepid With GH prohibition Avaunt Oberon Movento Coragen Portal Belt/Synapse

51 2012 Tomato Russet Mite


53 Tomato Russet Mite Mistaken for other problems Start at bottom of plant and work upward Leaves dried out- ‘burned up’ Mite move quickly to green leaves – develops fast 1/2013 Jessamine Co.

54 Tomato Russet Mite Life cycle of 5 to 6 days Feed on Solanaceous plants/weeds Can be moved by people or equipment Scout for damage and confirm with 20x lens Treat with Agri-Mek or insecticidal soap (low populations)

55 2012 Broad Mite

56 2012 Broad Mites (aka Tropical Mite) Eggs Broad mites:wide host range found in and around the buds complete life cycle in a week inject toxic saliva as they feed hardened, twisted growth, leaves curl downward peppers most susceptible Agri-Mek 0.15 EC for broad and tomato russet mites when they first appear Insecticidal soap

57 Spider Mites Two spotted spider mite Stippling of leaves and gold flecking of fruit Produce fine webbing Favored by hot dry conditions Tomatoes, beans, melons, cucumbers Casey Co - 2012

58 Spider Mites Complete life cycle in 8+ days Females lay 100+ eggs Under leaves, around buds Prefer tender leaves Scouting: – Look for stippling – Look for webbing

59 Spider Mites Management – Control weeds in/outside of GH/HT – Monitor weekly with hands lens or tap leaves over white paper – Use horticultural oils or insecticidal soap for light populations – Use Agri-Mek or Acramite for ↑ numbers

60 Whiteflies Two types, greenhouse and silverleaf

61 Whiteflies Undersides of leaves Complete life cycle in less than a month Produce honeydew, stunt plants Can transmit Yellow Leaf Curl Virus Silverleaf can cause plant distortions

62 Whitefly Management Monitor weekly – tap plants Check undersides of leaves with hand lens Use biocontrol – Encarsia formosa (GHWF)or Eretmocerus eremicus (SLWF) wasps

63 Whiteflies Insecticides (IGRs) for nymphs: Knack Courier Insecticides for adults and nymphs Admire (foliar or systemic) Portal Venom (foliar or systemic)

64 Thrips in the High Tunnel Direct damage to tomato fruit – ‘gold fleck’ Vectors of Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus

65 Thrips Life Cycle Two protected stages eggs pupa

66 Thrips in the High Tunnel Pierce plant cells Mainly females – 150 to 300 eggs each – eggs inserted into leaves Resting stage in media Life cycle complete in 7 to 14 days

67 Thrips and Virus Vectors of TSWV – Acquire when immature and transmit primarily as adults – Transmit for life – Acquire from infects crop plants or weeds Monitoring – Yellow or blue sticky cards – Tapping buds/flowers over white paper – Avoid bright colored clothing

68 Thrips Management Limited insecticides to control thrips for the high tunnel – Baythroid (foliar) – Brigade (foliar) – Agri-Mek (foliar) – Venom Second treatment?

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