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High tunnel workshops to address common challenges

Friday, April 13, 2018 - 8:30am to 3:30pm
Event Type: 

AMES, Iowa – Three workshops will be held to help extension staff, county horticulturists, local food coordinators, industry representatives and growers learn to manage common challenges in high tunnels while also discussing new advances in high tunnel production. These workshops are supported by the USDA North Central Sustainable Agriculture and Research.

Topics to be covered include soil management, tomato grafting, insect and disease management and environmental control. A visit to a local farm operating a high tunnel is also part of the workshop. “Participants will learn how to protect the health of soil in a high tunnel so that it stays productive over the long term,” said Joe Hannan, commercial horticulture specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach.

The all-day classes will be held April 6 at the ISU Extension and Outreach Henry County office in Mt. Pleasant, April 10 at the North Iowa Fairgrounds’ 4-H Learning Center in Mason City and April 13 at the ISU Extension and Outreach Cass County office in Atlantic.

Ajay Nair, associate professor of horticulture and extension vegetable production specialist, will lead the workshops along with Donald Lewis, Joe Hannan, Laura Iles, and Lina Rodriguez-Salamanca, pathologist with the Iowa State University Plant and Insect Diagnostic clinic. Register by March 30 by filling the form below. Sign-in begins at 8 a.m. on the day of the workshop with workshop running from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. There is no cost for the workshop, but registration is required as space is limited. 

Category: 

High Tunnel Vegetable Production Workshop

Tuesday, April 25, 2017 - 8:00am
Event Type: 

AMES, Iowa – Three workshops will be held to help extension staff, county horticulturists, local food coordinators, industry representatives, and growers learn to manage common challenges in high tunnels while also discussing new advances in high tunnel production. Topics to be covered include soil management, tomato grafting, insect management and environmental control. A visit to a working high tunnel is also part of the workshop.

The workshops will be offered in three locations:
1. April 25 at the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Webster County office in Fort Dodge
2. April 26 at the ISU Extension and Outreach Wappelo County office in Ottumwa
3. May 2 at the ISU Extension and Outreach Dubuque County office in Dubuque.

Ajay Nair, assistant professor of horticulture and extension vegetable production specialist will lead the workshops along with Joe Hannan, commercial horticulture specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach; Donald Lewis, professor and extension entomologist; and Kristine Neu, graduate assistant in horticulture. Sign-in begins at 8 a.m. on the day of the workshop with classes running from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. There is no cost for the workshops , but registration is required as space is limited. Register by April 18 at https://www.extension.iastate.edu/vegetablelab/high-tunnel-vegetable-production-workshop or by calling Kathy Beni at the ISU Extension and Outreach Dallas County office at 515-993-4281.


 

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Fall Cover Crop Influence on Spring Potato Production

Use of cover crops is becoming a common practice among vegetable producers. Cover crops provide multiple benefits such as building of organic matter, erosion and weed suppression, nitrogen fixation, and improvement of soil health. Cereal rye is the most widely planted cover crop in Iowa, however, cover crops such as oats, oilseed radish, and clovers are gaining popularity. The goal of this project was to evaluate and study three fall-planted cover crops and their effect on spring-planted potato. The three cover crops studied were Cereal Rye, Oilseed Radish, and Crimson Clover.
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Quantifying Nitrogen Scavenging Benefits of Cover Crops in the Mississippi River Basin

The sandy soils of Muscatine County, Iowa, are prone to erosion and leaching. In the fall, leftover fertilizer applied to the corn and soybean crop is highly susceptible to leaching. Cover crops have been widely acclaimed to mitigate such issues as they prevent erosion and scavenge residual nitrogen. Although these attributes are widely known, adoption of cover crops has been slow. Information on cover crop planting dates, performance, and advantages are available, but few data are available that is applicable to Iowa soils and growing conditions.
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Effects of Reduced Tillage and Split Fertilizer Application in Organic Broccoli and Pepper Production Systems

The use of tillage is widespread in organic vegetable production, due to its importance for cover crop incorporation, seedbed preparation, and weed control. However, its harmful effects on soil health have spurred interest in systems that reduce the need for tillage. Because nitrogen is often limiting under high residue/reduced tillage conditions, fertilizer management is considered key to crop productivity.
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Strip-tillage and Row Cover Use in Organically and Conventionally Grown Muskmelon

Growing muskmelon in a more sustainable way involves multiple management practices. Cover crops often are incorporated into the soil before planting the cash crop. However, they also can be “rolled” and used as a ground cover throughout the growing season. The cash crop is planted in small, tilled strips within the residue. This “strip-tillage” technique provides a weed-controlling, moisture-retaining mat that does not need to be removed at the season’s end, as plastic mulch does. The reduction in tillage can improve soil structure and health.
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Strip-tillage and Row Cover Use in Organically and Conventionally Grown Summer Squash

Sustainable production of summer squash involves multiple management practices. Some cover crops can be “rolled” when mature to produce a ground-covering mat. The cash crop is then planted in tilled strips made in the residue. This “strip-tillage” technique provides a weed-controlling, moisture-retaining mat that is biodegradable, unlike plastic mulches. The reduction in tillage can improve soil health. Row covers provide a favorable microclimate and act as a physical barrier to pests when placed over young transplants.
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Cover Cropping and Strip Tillage to Improve Crop Performance and Food Safety in Muskmelon Production

There is a growing interest among growers to utilize production techniques that reduce soil erosion, minimize nutrient leaching, suppress weed emergence, and build soil quality and organic matter. Cover crops are now being widely used by both conventional and organic growers to accomplish these tasks and also to maintain high soil fertility.
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Managing Cover Crops Profitably, 3rd Edition

Managing Cover Crops Profitably explores how and why cover crops work, and provides all the information needed to build cover crops into any farming operation. Along with detailed management information on the most commonly used species—including grasses, grains, brassicas and mustards, and legumes—Managing Cover Crops Profitably offers chapters on the role of cover crops in broader topics such as crop rotations, pests and conservation tillage. It also has appendices on seed suppliers and regional experts.

Dr. Ajay Nair

Dr. Ajay Nair
Lab
Associate Professor
Vegetable Extension Specialist
Area of Expertise: 
Sustainable Vegetable Production