While being hosted by Gianluca Savini of Sant’Orsola in the Trentino region of Italy, we had the opportunity to view strawberry production in substrate. Plants are grown in bags or long trays of coconut coir media that are supported on raised structure. All production occurs under high tunnels. Sant'Orsola growers utilize cultivars from several breeding programs, including short-day and day-neutral types. The Cooperative also markets specialty types such as Fragaria vesca, a very flavorful but perishable native species. The Cooperative also tests new types for their grower-members. Yields and production costs can be very high, but harvest is very labor efficient.
TunnelBerries project director, Eric Hanson from Michigan State University toured berry production in the Trentino region of Italy with Gianluca Savini of Sant’Orsola Cooperative whose growers produce premium quality fresh strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries and currants. Sant'Orsola has invested in a state-of-the-art berry receiving, storage and handling facility to maintain exceptional berry condition. They also market in innovative packaging to serve different customers. Many thanks to Gianluca for a terrific look at cutting-edge berry production in Italy!
TunnelBerries colleagues Maria Cramer, Kathleen Demchak and Richard Marini from Penn State University as well as Tracy Leskey of the USDA-ARS Appalachian Fruit Research Station recently published their work in HortScience. The team found that red raspberry plants growing in high tunnels have significantly fewer issues with Japanese beetle, particularly if the tunnel plastic is one that reduces UV light transmission.
Congratulations to TunnelBerries colleagues from Michigan State University Eric Hanson, Brent Crain and Josh Moses who recently published in HortScience “Cropping on primocanes and floricanes increases yields of organic raspberries in high tunnels”. Results from this study indicate that fruiting both primocanes and floricanes (double cropping) can produce higher total yields in tunnels that can be sustained from year to year. Floricanes produce earlier in the summer and generally avoid spotted wing drosophila.
“Benefits of growing strawberries under low tunnels” has just been published on the TunnelBerries YouTube channel! Check out this excellent video that discusses the key benefits of growing strawberries under plastic low tunnels in cold climates of North America. Hats off to TunnelBerries colleagues Marvin Pritts and Samantha Willden (Cornell University), Becky Sideman and Kaitlyn Orde (University of New Hampshire) and Kathy Demchak (Penn State University) for developing this excellent low tunnel strawberry production overview!
Primocanes? Floricanes? Are you confused by the raspberry growth cycle and how to prune? Raspberry plants have a complex growth cycle and can be managed in different ways depending on the grower's goals. This new video released by TunnelBerries explains all this and how to manage primocane-fruiting raspberry plants.
TunnelBerries researchers David Conner and Kathleen Demchak recently published an article in HortTechnology based on in-depth interviews of ten growers from across the U.S. who use tunnels for strawberry and cane berry production. Results highlight the benefits and challenges of growing berries in tunnels and identified future research and outreach needs. Congratulations on publishing a very informative article David and Kathy!
Sign up now for the "High Tunnel Bramble Production" workshop at the Mid-Atlantic Fruit & Vegetable Convention!
The Mid-Atlantic Fruit & Vegetable Convention in Hershey, Pennsylvania is coming up fast with some tunnel-related events that you won't want to miss! A pre-conference workshop, "High Tunnel Bramble Production" is scheduled for 1/28/19 that includes insights from growers, industry, and researchers in a panel discussion format. This is an excellent opportunity for growers and extension educators alike. Additional educational sessions on high and low tunnels are scheduled during the main convention program. Sign up for the workshop and other events at http://www.mafvc.org/
Plan now to attend the Mid Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention, January 29-31, 2019 in Hershey, Pennsylvania. An all-day pre-convention high tunnel bramble production workshop is scheduled for January 28th. Join other growers for this information-packed event! For more information, check the convention website: http://www.mafvc.org/
Author: Dr. Marvin Pritts, Horticulture, Cornell University
Ag Progress Days will take place August 14-16 at the Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center in Pennsylvania Furnace, Pennsylvania. Tour the high tunnels and see the research conducted by TunnelBerries personnel at Penn State University!
Tour details here >>>
This excellent how-to manual covers what growers need to know to be successful growing strawberries under low tunnels in the Northeast U.S. Types of low tunnel structures and plastic covers are detailed as well recommendations for managing the tunnel microclimate, using day neutral strawberry varieties and strategies for winter protection. The "Low Tunnel Strawberry Production Guide", by TunnelBerries personnel Kaitlyn Orde & Becky Sideman (U of New Hampshire), Marvin Pritts (Cornell U.) and Kathy Demchak (Penn State U.) is available as a free download.