Design, Testing and Construction Education of a Post and Wire Support Structure for Insect Exclusion Netting on Field Grown Berries

Project Overview

FNE20-963
Project Type: Farmer
Funds awarded in 2020: $15,000.00
Projected End Date: 02/28/2022
Grant Recipient: The Berry Patch of Stone WAll Hill Farm, LLC
Region: Northeast
State: New York
Project Leader:
Dale Ila Riggs
The Berry Patch of Stone Wall Hill Farm, LLC

Commodities

  • Fruits: berries (blueberries), berries (brambles), berries (other), berries (strawberries)

Practices

  • Crop Production: crop improvement and selection, cropping systems, other, shade cloth
  • Education and Training: decision support system, demonstration, display, extension, farmer to farmer, on-farm/ranch research, technical assistance, workshop
  • Farm Business Management: budgets/cost and returns, business planning, feasibility study, risk management
  • Pest Management: cultural control, field monitoring/scouting, integrated pest management, other, physical control, prevention, row covers (for pests)
  • Production Systems: organic agriculture, transitioning to organic
  • Sustainable Communities: employment opportunities, local and regional food systems, new business opportunities, partnerships

    Proposal summary:

    Berry growers in the Northeast continue to battle Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD), an invasive pest that has permanently altered production systems for berry growers.  A previous SARE Farmer Grant that I received demonstrated that exclusion netting is a highly successful method for managing this pest.  As growers come to the realization that SWD is here to stay, more growers are interested in using exclusion netting.  A major stumbling block for acceptance of this technique is the lack of any commercial companies providing support structures and the lack of a tested design and plans for growers to construct their own structures.  In this project we want to build and test an engineered system that can be replicated by any farmer willing to invest in common post and wire construction components.  I want to create professional quality construction plans, that include a list of materials, that growers will be able to access through multiple channels, to create their own support structure for exclusion netting.  Moreover, I want to teach growers, mainly through hands-on construction workshops and through YouTube videos, how to build a system for their own farm. Lastly, I intend to submit the plans developed in this project to NRCS to start the approval process for cost-sharing assistance for exclusion netting systems.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    This project seeks to :

    1. Create and test an engineered set of plans for a post and wire support structure for insect exclusion netting, made from materials that growers can readily buy through building supply or farm supply companies.
    2. Teach growers how to construct their own support structures through on-farm construction field days and YouTube videos.
    3. Create a bill of materials and time budget for covering a half acre planting so growers can price out materials and determine the investment needed to build their own structure.
    4. Create professionally drawn plans that can be submitted to NRCS to start the process of adding exclusion netting systems to the list of approved practices for EQIP cost share programs.
    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.