Soil and Crop Quality Under High Tunnel
This project is still in the experiment and analysis stage. 2006 was spent in data collection and the beginning stages of analysis. We collected written surveys from 80 horticulture producers who use high tunnels. This high number of participants made the survey portion of our work a success. Sixty farms with high tunnels were visited and soil collected inside and adjacent to the tunnels. Soil quality parameters will now be measured in these samples. The project is off to good start.
The immediate goal of this project is to quantify some soil and crop quality factors influenced during vegetable production in soil under high tunnels. This will expand the information base available to farmers making decisions about the management of high tunnels. An intermediate goal is to help determine if management practices should be altered to improve soil quality in high tunnels compared to open field.
Besides comparison of vegetable production in and out of high tunnels, comparisons will also be drawn between organic and conventional management. Findings and recommendations of the project will then be applicable to organic and conventional growers. We anticipate that findings of this study will guide efforts to ameliorate problem soil conditions in high tunnels, and will lead to recommendations for sustainable soil management practices in high tunnels.
It is hoped that the assessment of soil quality presented at the end of this project will aid farmers making management decisions in light of the long term sustainability of their farms. Production in high tunnels is of advantage to local communities as these structures extend the season for locally grown fresh fruit and vegetables. If well managed, production in high tunnels will increase the profitability of vegetable production while sustaining soil quality.
Summary of Expected Outcomes
Short term: Assess soil and crop quality in high tunnels
Intermediate: Management evaluation and strategies
Long term: Sustainable vegetable production in high tunnels in Kansas
Short Term Objective: Assess soil and crop quality in high tunnels
– Developed a 36 question written survey designed to gather information about high tunnel production trends and farmer perception of soil quality issues.
– Collected eighty surveys from horticulture producers who use high tunnels.
– Visited sixty farms in Kansas, Missouri, Iowa and Nebraska collecting soil samples from inside and adjacent to high tunnels.
– Began laboratory analysis of soil.
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
This project is not yet far enough along to measure impact and contributions.
2006 was spent in data collection and the beginning stages of analysis.
Kansas State University
2021 Throckmorton Hall
Manhattan, KS 66506
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