Progress report for LS17-282

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2017: $266,986.00
Projected End Date: 03/31/2021
Grant Recipient: University of Arkansas
Region: Southern
State: Arkansas
Principal Investigator:
Renee Threlfall
University of Arkansas
Co-Investigators:
Dr. M. Elena Garcia
University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture
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Project Information

Abstract:

Grape production is a high profit global enterprise with the United States (US) as one of the top ten countries in yield, area harvested, and tons produced. Although the majority of US grape production occurs in California, grape production in the southern region can be a profitable enterprise. However, grapes grown in the southern region are an extremely high input crop because of pest pressures (diseases and arthropods) in a humid climate requiring frequent fungicide and insecticide inputs (6-8 fungicides and 4-6 pesticide applications per season). Organic grape production is not an economically viable option in the southeastern United States due to the prevalence of disease and insect pests (e.g. black rot and grape berry moth). The economic and environmental sustainability of table grape production in the southern United States could be improved by producing grapes in protected agriculture systems such as high tunnels (HT).  Preliminary results of table grape cultivation at the University of Arkansas (Fayetteville) under HT systems has demonstrated that production can be advanced (production can be achieved one year after planting instead of the two to three years in field production), fruit quality can be improved, and fungicide and insecticide inputs can be reduced (from 10-14 spray applications in open field vineyards to 2-4 in HTs). Establishment costs and payback periods for HT production of table grapes are needed to assess economic feasibility for southern region growers, but could be applied to other grape production regions. A multidisciplinary approach by the UA System Division of Agriculture will evaluate HT grape production as a sustainable way to diversify farm operations. Division researchers in horticulture, food science, pest management, and economic fields will collaborate with the Arkansas Association of Grape Growers and local growers in underserved regions. Production requirements, pest management, postharvest qualities, and economic and marketing considerations will be identified, assessed, and incorporated into educational programs. A partnership with the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) will aid in developing and disseminating project deliverables and publications. The information generated over the course of this project will guide future growers and entrepreneurs through the decision­ making processes involved in implementing this novel approach to HT table grape production.

Project Objectives:

Objective 1. To evaluate production techniques and pest management tactics to determine feasibility and best practices for three table grape cultivars with three trellis systems under high tunnels.

Objective 2. To determine marketable attributes through the evaluation of physiochemical and post-. harvest attributes for these table grapes grown under high tunnels.

Objective 3. To develop economic budgets for high tunnel grape production by determining economic breakeven analysis for table grape production under this system.

Objective 4. To develop, deliver, and disseminate educational materials to stakeholders to provide guidelines on production practices for high tunnel table grape production in the Southern Region.

Objective 5. To measure impact of educational trainings delivered.

Cooperators

Click linked name(s) to expand

Research

Materials and methods:

Objective 1. Evaluation of high tunnel grape (table and wine) cultural and pest management methods by investigating potential grape production management techniques (Garcia, Lee, AAGG)

Grape cultivar and trellis system performance in HTs will be evaluated. An established HT (UA, Fayetteville¬ 2014) with three table grape cultivars and three training systems will be used to assess table grape production. Two new HTs will be established to evaluate wine grape production (one at University of Arkansas Fruit Research Station (FRS) in Clarksville and another at a grower collaborator site (GCS)). Site locations correspond with Arkansas primary wine production areas. Data will be collected on vine growth and yield parameters. Soil conditions (pH, mineral nutrients, and nematodes) will be monitored by collecting soil samples. Foliar samples will be collected to determine nutrient status of vines and supply fertilizers as needed.  Insect traps will be placed in the HT vineyards and monitored weekly for grape berry moth and other insects affecting grapes, including spotted wing drosophila. Evaluations will be done weekly for improved control of fruit rot diseases. Frequency of pesticide application will be monitored as well as assessing effectiveness of sustainable approaches such as the exclusion insect netting and release of predatory species for arthropod control. Fungicide applications will be evaluated for optimal spray timing, efficacy, and phytotoxicity. For comparison we will collect data from grapes established plantings at FSR and GCS.

 

Objective 2. Determine marketable attributes for high tunnel grapes (Threlfall)

We will identify and measure physiochemical attributes of the HT grapes at harvest and during postharvest storage for each cultivar and trellis system at each site. Physiochemical attributes will include physical, composition, and nutraceutical attributes. The physical attributes of the grapes will include cluster weight, berries/cluster, berry weight, berry dimensions, external berry color and texture. The composition of the grapes will include soluble solids, pH, titratable acidity, organic acids and sugars.  The nutraceutical attributes of the grapes will include total phenolics, total ellagitannins, total flavanols and total anthocyanins. The postharvest attributes (texture, weight loss and percent unmarketable fruit) of the table grapes will be evaluated at harvest and each week for three weeks stored at 2°C. Wine will be made from the wine grapes in years 2 and 3 and analyized for some composition attributes (pH, titratable acidity, alcohol, acids and sugars).

 

Objective 3. Develop economic budgets for HT grape production (Rainey)

Characterize economic potential for HT grape production by developing economic breakeven analysis and impacts.  Economic analysis will rely on enterprise budget (Smith et al, 2000) and partial budgeting techniques to estimate costs and returns for production, harvesting, and marketing activities of table and wine grapes.  The economics of recommended production practices will be evaluated by collecting data from research recommendations and field trials.  Specific information related to HT operations—cost/rate of application of inputs, tunnel cost, harvest processes, etc.—will be analyzed to estimate production costs/acre.  Budgets will assist farmers in management decisions including identifying break-even prices and determining allocation of resources to land, labor, and capital.

 

Objective 4. Generate production practices for high tunnel grape growers by creating pest management and best practice guides from project results (Garcia, Lee, Rainey, Threlfall, AAGG)

From the data generated on cultural and pest management practices applied to the HT table and wine grapes during Year 1 and 2, we will develop integrated pest management and best practice guides for stakeholders (Extension educators, growers, agricultural consultants, etc.). Data on cultural practices, pest management, post¬harvest attributes, and economics will be summarized into comprehensive manuals to guide stakeholders in their decision making process.

 

Objective 5. Expand outreach efforts for high tunnel grape production (AAGG, Garcia, Lee, Rainey, Threlfall)

Disseminate HT grape production information through fact sheets, extension webpage, field days, workshops, and state and regional conferences to stakeholders. The project team will host an annual workshop on findings of research and issues related to HT grape production. We will provide support to create and implement web-based materials for extension-based outreach including content for the national eXtension Grape Community of Practice, which maintains the grape sites eXtension.org and eViticulture.org. Production guides will be posted on the SSARE website for use throughout the southern region and made accessible to interested individuals by various means such as e-book, cd, flash drives and hard copies.

Research results and discussion:

Objective 1. Evaluation of high tunnel grape (table and wine) cultural and pest management methods by investigating potential grape production management techniques. 

  • Grape planting established at Barnhill Orchards. Activities:
  • Barnhill Orchards
  • Helped grower on land preparation
  • Helped grower with trellis establishment
  • Ordered and planted 81 grape vines (27 of each cultivar: Gratitude, Hope, and Jupiter)
  • Set landscape fabric
  • Trained vines throughout the season
  • Helped with put the plastic on bay

Chateau Aux Arc Vineyards and Winery

  • Site selection and land preparation for new tunnel
  • Ordered vine plants (18 of each cultivar: Jupiter, Hope, and Neptune
  • Ordered a 25’x200’ Super Solo Tunnel to be set-up 18 spring

Fayetteville:

  • Pruning and training was conducted in established planting
  • Other standard horticulture practices such as fertilizer application, cluster thinning, combing, and harvesting were conducted
  • Pest management practices were applied including spraying and scouting
    • Sprays:
    • Sulfur: at bud break (this spray should have been applied earlier)
    • May 1: Manzate Pro Stick +Captan 4L
    • June 30: Pristine
    • July 27: Malathion, Elevate, Captan
    • Oct: Post harvest- Quadris
    • Dormant application of lime sulfur in both the high tunnel and the outside row.
  • An internship was granted to an undergraduate student to help with the above activities

Objective 3. Develop economic budgets for HT grape production

Data is being collected 

Yield results:

Fayetteville:  Yield results were very high despite the utilization of “balanced pruning” techniques (Table 1.).  These high yields resulted in poor fruit quality, delayed harvest, and more disease incidence. Pruning adjustments will be made for the 2018 season.

Table 1.   Means for various grape harvest paramters for 2017 harvest season (Fayetteville, AR) 
Cultivar TRT MEAN Total yield (kg) MEAN Total yield (lbs) MEAN #Cluster/ Vine MEAN Wt 5 clusters (g) MEAN Wt 50 berries (g) MEAN length of 5 clusters (mm) MEAN AVG length of 5 clusters (mm)
Jupiter GDC 21.9 48.4 215.3 552.6 170.5 55.0 11.0
Jupiter MDHCW 41.7 91.9 292.5 775.6 194.4 90.6 18.1
Jupiter MDHCE 38.6 85.2 269.8 1596.0 367.7 83.4 16.7
Faith GDC 35.5 78.4 229.8 1174.2 172.0 90.3 18.1
Faith MDHCW 39.4 86.8 189.8 1316.4 236.4 102.9 20.6
Faith MDHCE 46.8 103.1 247.3 1092.8 222.9 100.1 20.0
Gratitude GDC 35.2 77.5 86.2 2036.4 140.3 98.0 19.6
Gratitude MDHCW 36.9 81.3 90.7 2239.2 146.5 100.8 20.2
Gratitude MDHCE 38.0 83.8 118.0 1497.1 131.7 97.4 19.5
GDC: Geneva doubled curtain- Center of tunnel
MDHCW: Modified double high cordon_ West side of tunnel
MDHCW: Modified double high cordon_ East  side of tunnel

Objective 2. Determine marketable attributes for high tunnel grapes.

Fruit was collected from the Fayetteville tunnel and phytochemical analyses were conducted.  These results were presented by a graduate student at the Southern Am. Soc. Hort Sci in Jacksonville FL.: Effects of High Tunnel Production on Postharvest Marketability of Arkansas Table Grapes. Molly Felts, Renee T. Threlfall, John R. Clark, and M. Elena Garcia.

Objective 3. Develop economic budgets for HT grape production.

Data is being collected to generate budgets

Objective 4. Generate production practices for high tunnel grape growers by creating pest management and best practice guides from project results

Data is being collected to generate guides.

Objective 5. Expand outreach efforts for high tunnel grape production.

Videos:

  • Filmed footage for Grape Planting and Establishment video in Clarksville and Cabot
  • Filmed footage for Pruning and Trellising video in Clarksville
  • Filmed footage for Harvest and Fruit Quality Assessment video in Fayetteville
  • Began editing videos to publish online in Spring of 2018

Publications:

  • Began outlining Planting and Establishment, Trellising and Training, and Temperature and Soil Management fact sheets
  • Fact sheets will be published by ATTRA in Summer 2018 and made available online

Presentations:

•          Presented on High Tunnel Fruit Production at AR-OK Horticulture Industries Show in Tulsa, OK on Jan. 5, 2018. Included yield and fruit quality results from 2017 high tunnel grape project. Estimated 50 in audience.

 

Participation Summary
2 Farmers participating in research

Education

Educational approach:

We will disseminate HT grape production information through fact sheets, extension webpage, field days, video clips (posted on youtube, NCATT and SARE websites, workshops, and state and regional conferences to stakeholders. The project team will host an annual workshop on findings of research and issues related to HT grape production. We will provide support to create and implement web­ based materials for extension ­based outreach including content for the national eXtension Grape Community of Practice, which maintains the grape sites eXtension.org and eViticulture.org. Production guides will be posted on the SSARE website for use throughout the southern region and made accessible to interested individuals by various means such as e-­book, cd, and hard copies.

Educational & Outreach Activities

6 Consultations
3 Curricula, factsheets or educational tools
4 On-farm demonstrations
3 Webinars / talks / presentations
2 Workshop field days
2 Sept 15- Presented a talk at the Annual Hispanic Farmers Conference in McAllen, TX- -Role of SSARE Sponsored Fruit Research and Education Programs in Arkansas to Benefit Grape, Strawberry, and Blackberry Producers.
Presented on High Tunnel Fruit Production at AR-OK Horticulture Industries Show in Tulsa, OK on Jan. 5, 2018. Included yield and fruit quality results from 2017 high tunnel grape project. Estimated 50 in audience.
Presented and delivery a workshop and field day activities on high tunnel systems at Lonoke and Cabot-April 14, 2018, 62 attendees

Participation Summary

60 Farmers
15 Ag professionals participated
Education/outreach description:

Sept 15- Presented a talk at the Annual Hispanic Farmers Conference in McAllen, TX- -Role of SSARE Sponsored Fruit Research and Education Programs in Arkansas to Benefit Grape, Strawberry, and Blackberry Producers.
Presented and delivery a workshop and field day activities on high tunnel systems at Lonoke and Cabot-April 14, 2018, 62 attendees.

Presented on High Tunnel Fruit Production at AR-OK Horticulture Industries Show in Tulsa, OK on Jan. 11, 2018. P.I, 

Presented on High Tunnel Fruit Production at AR-OK Horticulture Industries Show in Fayetteville, AR on Jan. 5, 2018. Included yield and fruit quality results from 2017 high tunnel grape project. P.I,  graduate and undergraduate students presented their research results. 

Filmed footage for Grape Planting and Establishment video in Clarksville and Cabot

  • Filmed footage for Pruning and Trellising video in Clarksville
  • Filmed footage for Harvest and Fruit Quality Assessment video in Fayetteville
  • Began editing videos to publish online in Spring of 2018
  • Filmed, edited, and published video “High Tunnel Grapes – Planting” on ATTRA website https://attra.ncat.org/video/ and on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0DKYQpPKb80&list=PLDu0ElBiEy9zLjFx2vy2Ghtu1z-bwYxaH. Published 4/30/2018.
  • Filmed, edited, and published video “High Tunnel Grapes – Trellising & Training” on ATTRA website https://attra.ncat.org/video/ and on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-9NVMLPBRk&index=2&list=PLDu0ElBiEy9zLjFx2vy2Ghtu1z-bwYxaH. Published 4/30/18.
  • Filmed footage of pruning grapes at U of A Fruit Research Station for YouTube video on winter pruning. Also shot photos for publications.
  • Filmed footage of cluster thinning and leaf thinning at U of A Research Farm for YouTube video on summer pruning. Also shot photos for publications.
  • Filmed footage of building high tunnel at Chateau Au Arc for YouTube video on high tunnel construction. Also shot photos for publications.
  • Filmed footage of grape harvest at Barnhill Orchards for YouTube video on harvesting grapes. Also shot photos for publications.
  • Filmed footage of postharvest assessment of grapes from YouTube video on harvesting grapes. Also shot photos for publications.
  • Wrote High Tunnel Grape Fact Sheet #1 High Tunnel and Gape Establishment. Currently in review
  • Wrote High Tunnel Grape Fact Sheet #2 Pruning, Trellising, and Training. Currently in review
  • Wrote High Tunnel Grape Fact Sheet #3 Temperature and Soil Management. Currently in review

Publications:

  • Began outlining Planting and Establishment, Trellising and Training, and Temperature and Soil Management fact sheets
  • Fact sheets will be published by ATTRA in Summer 2018 and made available online

Learning Outcomes

Key changes:
  • This is the first year for this project. We do not have any data to report on this area

Project Outcomes

1 Farmers changed or adopted a practice
1 Grant received that built upon this project
Project outcomes:

None to date.  As we generate data, we will develop fact sheets and videos.

  • High Tunnel Workshop 5/3/18 Evaluation Report
    • 62 attendees
    • 95% of participants said the workshop was “extremely useful”
    • Speakers on average were rated as 4/5 or 5/5 for “usefulness” of the material they presented by 74.4 % of participants.
    • 44% of participants said the field tour was “5/5-very useful”
    • Some of the comments we received included:
      • “I was amazed by the high tunnel grape project. I had little interest in it before the workshop, but left very interested.”
      • “Getting the opportunity to really see a high tunnel operation.”
      • “Thanks for putting in the effort to help your customers. The Extension service has for a long time been a great source for information for small growers, and you are doing a great job.”
      • “Great conference. Really liked the farm visit.”
      • “Everyone involved did a fantastic job and preparation was evident”
Recommendations:

None to date

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.