4 articles tagged "Production Management".

Planting density plays an important role in the optimization of labor efficiency and productivity of your high tunnel. For the purpose of this article I will focus on tomato which is commonly grown as a high value crop on small farming operations. Usually growers select varieties according to customer (market) preference and then try to combine that with other attributes such as ease of production, disease tolerance/resistance and productivity (yield). Consumer preference usually helps to determine the fruit color, size and shape, and the sweetness (soluble solids) of the tomato variety to be grown. The grower again is interested in earliness, growth habit (determinate and indeterminate), and ease of pruning, trellising and picking. Most growers in Indiana choose determinate varieties for high tunnel production, because it has limited growth and is easy to stake and allows for early production (short production cycle), with most fruit ripening before field grown tomatoes[Read More…]


A grafted tomato plant growing in a high tunnel. (Photo by Wenjing Guan)

​You might have heard about tomato grafting, or you might even already have tried the new technique. Yes, it has multiple benefits: control of soilborne diseases, enhanced tolerance to abiotic stresses, and increased productivity. It works for some growers, but not all. Why? There are several reasons. First, effects of grafting on controlling soilborne diseases depend on the presence of the disease that the rootstock is designed to control. For example, grafting might not be very helpful for white mold, because current commercial rootstocks do not have resistance to white mold. However, grafting might work if the primary problem is Fusarium crown and root rot, as most commercial tomato rootstocks have resistance to this disease. With that said, it is very important to look at the disease resistance profile before deciding on the rootstocks. Second, grafting effects on improving yield depend on factors such as scion and rootstock cultivars, cultural[Read More…]


​Purdue University and the Illiana Watermelon Association (IWA) are offering food safety audit cost-share programs to Indiana fruit and vegetable growers this year. Funds for the programs come from a grant from the Indiana State Department of Agriculture through the USDA Specialty Crops Block Grant Program. Through the Purdue program, Indiana fruit or vegetable growers who receive passing scores on their third party food safety audits are eligible for reimbursement of 40% of their audit cost, up to a maximum of $400 per farm. Through the Illiana Watermelon Association program IWA members may receive reimbursement for 75% of an audit cost (up to  $1,500) if a preferred audit-provider is used, or 60% (up to $1,200) if a non-preferred provider is used. Producers of any fruit or vegetable wishing to take advantage of the IWA program may join the IWA. To apply for cost-sharing, complete and return the appropriate application by[Read More…]


Driftwatch registry map with pin marking high tunnels at Pinney-Purdue Ag Center circled in yellow as an example.

​Vegetable, fruit, and organic farmers can register their production areas on Driftwatch.org to let commercial pesticide applicators know where the fields are. Beekeepers can also register sites where beehives are located. Once sites are registered and approved they appear on the Driftwatch registry map (see Fig. 1) and partnering applicators are notified. This helps applicators reduce drift or accidental application to vegetable crops.  Registration is free and easy. Why not do it today? Visit Fieldwatch.com to find the user guide with instructions.  If you registered fields last year you will need to renew the sites in order for them to show up in the registry this year. When renewing, it isn’t necessary to reenter all the information, just what has changed for 2015. Instructions for renewal are also online.


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