Monday, April 23, 2012

High Tunnel Crop Talk Notes, April 9, 2012

High Tunnel Crop Talk Notes: April 9, 2012
Report: Tony Bailey provided information regarding the NRCS EQIP program for high tunnels. This is a program designed to help offset the cost of a high tunnel for producers. Currently there are already forty-seven contracts confirmed for the program (in Indiana) for a total of $300,000. At this point, all the funds allocated for this year have been claimed. There are still some funding opportunities available for those interested in switching to organic or who already grow crops organically. There is a small chance funds will be shifted from other states that did not utilize their entire allotment and thus NRCS is still taking applications.
Report: A producer in southern IN shared information on his tomatoes. He indicated that two varieties that perform well for him are ‘Trust’ and ‘Match’ in a greenhouse and high tunnel setting. He is also growing two other varieties (‘Cherokee Purple’ and ‘Better Boy’) in tunnels and the field. Some of the issues he has dealt with in past seasons included heat build-up in the summer and disease issues. With the excess heat in the summer time, production falls off and since he continues to maintain the crop it allows little time for him to establish a cover crop in the tunnels to build up organic matter. Some of the pathogens he deals with most seasons in tomatoes are sclerotinia and grey mold. He has noticed this season with the early warm weather that insects such as caterpillars/worms and weeds have become a problem earlier than normal.
Report: Shubin Saha and Scott Monroe. There was discussion regarding tomato symptoms seen in various locations in southwestern Indiana. Scott Monroe had images from high tunnel tomato operations which showed tomato plants exhibiting leaf curling. Based on the images, it seems that the cause is most likely related to physiological tomato curling. ( , images Shubin had from the current research underway at SWPAC were of tomatoes that exhibited some leaf curling and distortion. ( and . The symptoms of these plants appeared different than what was shared by Scott. These symptoms were more similar to damage associated with growth regulator herbicide exposure. 
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