Expanding opportunities of season-long row covers in cucurbit production using native pollinators

Project Overview

Project Type: Partnership
Funds awarded in 2024: $49,529.00
Projected End Date: 03/30/2026
Grant Recipient: Ohio State University, South Centers
Region: North Central
State: Ohio
Project Coordinator:
Dr. Logan Minter
Ohio State University, South Centers


No commodities identified


No practices identified

Proposal abstract:

Pest management and pollinator conservation are two perennial
concerns in many specialty crop systems that are challenging to
balance. Cucurbit crops such as squash, melons, and pumpkin are
impacted by several severe insect pests, yet rely on insect
pollination. A management system involving the use of full-season
row covers used in concert with the behavior of native cucurbit
bees, Peponapis pruinosa, has been explored
experimentally and demonstrated as an effective way to produce
yields with little to no insecticide usage (Minter and Bessin
2014). While the impact would provide economic, environmental,
and societal benefits from reduction of chemical inputs, adoption
by producers has not yet occurred. While the results have been
published in academic writing and described in limited audience
presentation settings, on-farm demonstrations under various
conditions would be key to expanded adoption.

This project aims to increase adoption of season-long row covers
in diverse cucurbit production farms by partnering with Ohio
farmers to explore ways to adapt the approach on a variety of
farm settings and management considerations. This will allow for
expanded communication as well through field events, printed
extension literature, and electronic media to be produced with
input and direct involvement of agriculture professionals and
partner farmers.

Project objectives from proposal:

The specific aims of this project are to investigate and
demonstrate the applicability of management tactics of using
season-long row covers in cucurbit production through active
partnership of agricultural professionals and production growers

  1. Providing active involvement and direct observation
    opportunities to farmers on their operations.
  2. Collecting economic return data from production farms in
    Appalachian and northwestern Ohio to extrapolate to the North
    Central region.
  3. Highlighting yield and input savings to interested parties
    though various modes of active and passive communication.
  4. Dissemination of knowledge through demonstration and direct
    education, print, and digital media.
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.