By Tracy Turner
Specialty fruit or vegetable crop producers looking to gain a better understanding of how to use high tunnels to boost profits can apply for a new training opportunity April 28-30 from Ohio State University's College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.
Ohio State University South Centers will host the three-day high tunnel training on basic and advanced high tunnel techniques including production and usage, said Brad Bergefurd, an Ohio State University Extension horticulturist at OSU South Centers at Piketon.
OSU Extension is the outreach arm of the college. The OSU South Centers is also a part of the college.
The training, which is for farmers and educators, will allow participants to work in-depth on a one-on-one basis with horticulture experts from around the region and Ohio State, Bergefurd said.
"In the past we've offered basic introduction to high tunnels, but this is much more in-depth training for producers that have some previous experience," he said. "Participants will be able to travel to area greenhouse operations to see what other growers are doing with their high tunnels and speak with regional specialists who will discuss advanced high tunnel production.
"While the high tunnel industry is continually evolving and changing, participants will walk away with a broader understanding of the integrated pest management techniques as well as crop management in a high tunnel production system."
The workshop is limited to about 40 people and requires participants apply to attend the three-day training event. The application deadline is April 14. The application can be found online at http://go.osu.edu/hightunnel. Participants will be notified of their selection by April 18.
Topics to be discussed will include:
- April 28 - High tunnel facility tour including OSU South Centers Piketon, Weber Farms in Jackson, Zimmerman Farms in Hillsboro, and Rainsboro Produce in Rainsboro, Ohio. The event will also include a lunch discussion on high tunnel tomato training and a pruning demonstration.
- April 29 - Basic high tunnel training including high tunnel basic techniques; integrated pest management in high tunnels; crop physiology and nutritional aspects of high tunnel production; petiole sap analysis demonstration; high tunnel greens and berry production; and high tunnel basics.
- April 30 - Advanced high tunnel training including advanced techniques on integrated pest management in high tunnels; crop physiology and nutritional aspects of high tunnel production; tomato grafting demonstration and exercise; high tunnel greens and berry production; and irrigation and fertigation.
"Growers are finding that through using high tunnels, they are able to extend the growing season on their crops in order to produce fruits and vegetables both earlier in the season and to extend the growing season longer than traditional planting," Bergefurd said.
Source : purdue.edu