Reduce weather-related risks in fruit production with high tunnels

Growers are able to diversify the production of high-value fruit by using high tunnels.

Crops growing in a high tunnel. Photo by: MSU
Crops growing in a high tunnel. Photo by: MSU

Growing produce can be a risk for farmers in the Midwest thanks to unpredictable weather that can cut into profits. As part of the Fruit Focus track, during Michigan State University’s Agriculture Innovation Day: Focus on Fruit and Vegetable Technologies on June 28 at MSU’s Southwest Research and Extension Center in Benton Harbor, Michigan, growers will have an opportunity to see high tunnels first hand at the "Can High Tunnels Make Berry Growing More Profitable?" session led by Eric Hanson.

Hanson says high tunnels give growers new opportunities to increase fruit quality and their bottom line.

“The session encourages growers to consider high tunnels as a way to reduce risks and maintain high-quality fruit,” Hanson said.

High tunnels allow growers to better control the climate around crops by managing wind, rain, temperature and light exposure using polyethylene plastic covers attached to steel hoops over crops. At the Create Your Own Climate Change With High Tunnels session, attendees will have a chance to visualize what high tunnels look like and how they’re managed.

“At the session, we’ll have what are called multiple bay tunnels, which are 12-14 feet high, 24 feet wide and up to 400 feet long,” Hanson added. “The multiple bays connect tunnels together on larger operations.”

In addition to the high tunnels session, fruit growers can also attend sessions covering other orchard management strategies including outwitting insect pests, precision tree fruit orchards and stone fruit production and several sessions covering pollinators.

MSU Agriculture Innovation Day: Focus on Fruit and Vegetable Technologies, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. June 28 at the MSU Southwest Research and Extension Center in Benton Harbor, Michigan, offers a variety of fruit, vegetable and grape growing technologies, including the latest information on pollinators and equipment. The event has been approved for Restricted Use Pesticide Credits (6 credits) and Certified Crop Advisor CEUs in Integrated Pest Management, Crop Management, Soil and Water Management and Sustainability. For detailed session descriptions, visit http://www.canr.msu.edu/msu_agriculture_innovation_day/ or contact Ron Bates at batesr@msu.edu.

 


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