Development of highly productive protected cultivation of tomato in Southern U.S.

Project Overview

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2024: $398,537.00
Projected End Date: 03/31/2027
Grant Recipients: Langston University; Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center
Region: Southern
State: Oklahoma
Principal Investigator:
Devi Kandel
Langston University
Dr. Carlos Avila
Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center
Dr. Nirodha De Silva
Langston University
Terry Gipson
Langston University
Dr. Leonard Kibet
Langston University


No commodities identified


No practices identified

Proposal abstract:

In Oklahoma and Texas, tomato is grown during Spring and Summer
seasons in the open field. However, due to the tight growing
window, offseason and early production are necessary to be
competitive before tomatoes from other States and countries reach
the local market. In the open field, tomato is transplanted
during mid to late April in Oklahoma and the first half of March
in Texas with the high risk of damaging chill weather conditions.
Furthermore, high temperatures during the growth cycle starting
at the second half of May negatively affect flowering, and fruit
setting reducing yield and quality in tomatoes in both states.
Furthermore, insect pests and disease pressure represent a major
constraint for open field production. To avoid unfavorable
growing conditions, permanent protected structures such as
greenhouses can be used, however high initial investment, and
long-term commitment prevents growers to utilize this system. As
an alternative, cost effective structures such as high tunnel,
and micro-tunnel could be utilized. High tunnel and micro-tunnel
allow season extension and early growth when outside environment
is not favorable, therefore allowing local producers reduce
production risks, increase yield, improve quality, and reach the
market before other production regions to get a premium price. In
addition, high tunnels allow the optimization and efficient use
of resources such as mulching, irrigation, and fertilization.
This project aims to evaluate high tunnel and micro-tunnel
production systems in Oklahoma and South Texas. The project aims
to identify the best planting dates and cultivars to reach high
sale price windows. Economic feasibility analysis and field days
will be performed as a decision tool for farmers to disseminate
findings and to promote tomato production in the Southwestern
region of US. Outputs from this project are expected to provide
alternate ways to increase the productivity and profitability of
the production system to the limited resources, small and
minority farmers, and stakeholders.

Project objectives from proposal:

The main goal of this project is to develop cost effective, high
yielding, profitable production systems under high tunnel and
micro-tunnel conditions.

Objective 1 Evaluate yield, quality and
production efficiency of tomato cultivars under high-tunnel
production systems in Oklahoma and South Texas.

Objective 2 Determine optimal planting dates and
cultivars for tomato micro-tunnel production under protected
structures to reach high price market windows.

Objective 3 Evaluate economic feasibility of
micro-tunnel, and high tunnel production in Oklahoma and South
Texas conditions.

Objective 4 Disseminate findings to promote
tomato production.

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.