High Tunnel Short Course to Feature Industry Experts

Producers can learn about high tunnel technology

November 21, 2023, 1:54 pm | Ajay Nair

MADRID, Iowa – Producers are invited to attend the 2023 Iowa High Tunnel Short Course to discuss high tunnel production, management and marketing with experts from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. The course will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Dec. 13, at the Iowa Arboretum, 1875 Peach Ave, Madrid. The course is free to attend, with a registration deadline of Dec. 8.

Inside of a high tunnel.“This short course is designed to highlight production and management of high tunnel crops along with information on economics and marketing aspects of high tunnel crop production,” explained Ajay Nair, vegetable production specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. “The course will also provide an update on the status of high tunnel research across the Midwest.”

The conference will feature keynote speaker Rachel Rudolph, extension vegetable specialist at the University of Kentucky. Rudolph specializes in high tunnel systems, abiotic disorders, crop nutrition and soil fertility. Her research focuses on utilizing alternative approaches to manage issues in both the field and high tunnel systems, such as grafting with resistant rootstock to manage for root knot nematodes.

The short course will also feature Andrew and Amy Phelps of Phelps Farm, Guttenberg. They run an organic farm specializing in vegetables, beekeeping and flowers.

Dan Fillius, extension vegetable and specialty crop specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, will discuss Amish high tunnel technologies.

Nair, extension vegetable specialist with Iowa State, will wrap up the afternoon with a discussion of soil testing and soil test interpretation for high tunnel systems.

Tentative schedule

  • 8:30 a.m. – Registration and complimentary coffee and refreshments.
  • 9-10 a.m. – Keynote, Rachel Rudolph, University of Kentucky.
  • 10-10:45 a.m. – “Low Cost, High Tech” Andrew and Amy Phelps, Phelps Farm, Guttenberg.
  • 10:45-11:30 a.m. – Tour of the Iowa Arboretum (weather permitting), Mark Schneider.
  • 11:30-12:30 p.m. – Lunch and networking.
  • 12:30-1:30 p.m. – Amish high tunnel technologies, Dan Fillius.
  • 1:30-2:15 p.m. – Management of lettuce drop in high tunnels, Rachel Rudolph.
  • 2:15-2:30 p.m. – Break.
  • 2:30-3:15 p.m. – High tunnel soil test interpretation, Ajay Nair.
  • 3:15-3:30 p.m. – Final comments, evaluation and adjourn.

Registration is free; however, prior registration is required. The registration deadline is Dec. 8. Register online at the Extension Vegetable Lab Website.

Shareable photo: Inside view of a high tunnel.

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