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Iowa High Tunnel Short Course

Monday, November 6, 2017 - 8:30am to 3:00pm
Event Type: 

Date: Monday, 6th November, 2017; 8:30am
Venue: Garden Room, Reiman Gardens, 1407 S University Blvd, Ames, IA 50011

Welcome to first Iowa High Tunnel Short Course. This short course is designed to highlight production and management of several high tunnel crops along with information on economics and marketing aspects of high tunnel crop production. The course will also provide an update on the status of high tunnel research across the Midwest. Keynote speaker is Adam Montri from Michigan State University. Adam, along with his wife Dru, is the co-owner of Ten Hens Farm, LLC in Bath, Michigan. Adam and Dru started Ten Hens in 2008 and now farm three acres of outdoor production during the traditional Midwest growing season and year-round in over 17,000 sqft of high tunnel space. They market their produce through one farmers market, an on-farm stand, multiple restaurants, other farms, a grocery store, two multi-farm CSAs, and two senior center/assisted living facilities. Adam is also a hoophouse outreach specialist in the Department of Horticulture at Michigan State University (MSU) and with the MSU Center for Regional Food Systems where he works with farmers throughout Michigan on the Hoophouses for Health program.

Core objectives of this short course are to:

  • Highlight the importance of crop, environment, and soil management for vegetable production in high tunnels
  • Provide a platform to share resources, knowledge, and expertise in the area of high tunnel vegetable production
  • Connect growers, agricultural educators, extension staff, and industry personnel  working in high tunnels and in the area of local foods. 

Tentative schedule:

8:30am: Registration and coffee
9-10am: Keynote speaker Adam Montri, Michigan State University (Title: Two Acres and a High Tunnel: How Season Extension has gone from Niche to Necessity and Where It Fits in the Future)
10-10:45am: Ajay Nair (Title: Cucurbit crops for high tunnel production)
10:45-11:45am: Cary Rivard, Kansas State University (Title: Breaking Bad Habits: Integrating Crop Diversity into High Tunnel Production Systems)
11:45-12:30pm: Lunch and networking
12:30-1:15pm: Laura Iles and Lina Rodriguez (Title: Disease and insect management in high tunnels)
1:15-2:15: Adam Montri (Title: Crop Selection, Pricing and Economics for Successful Year-Round High Tunnel Production)
2:15-3pm: Joe Hannan (Title: Valuable lessons from production to marketing of high tunnel tomatoes)

Registration is required. Please provide information below to register. Please register by November 2, 2017.


High Tunnel Tomato Production Workshop

Tuesday, February 23, 2016 - 9:00am to 3:15pm
Event Type: 

Cedar Valley Produce Auction • 18072 Addison Ave • Elma, IA

Topics for the day include: 

  • Environmental control
  • How to tell if it is a disease
  • Common insect, disease and fertility issues
  • Insurance: whole farm revenue protection
  • Grafting
  • Maintaining productivity in a monoculture

This free event is sponsored by the Cedar Valley Produce Auction.


Integrating Cover Crops in High Tunnel Crop Production

High tunnels are plastic-covered, passively ventilated and heated structures where crops are grown directly in soil. They have become important tools for Iowa specialty crop producers to increase production of quality crops, extend the season, and increase profitability. The environment in a high tunnel, without rainfall, limited space, and potential climate control requires a unique set of crop management skills. High tunnel production is primarily dominated by tomatoes. Interest among growers focuses on year-round production in high tunnels.

Effect of Plastic Mulch Color on Tomato Production in High Tunnels

High tunnel production is increasing in Iowa as they provide protection from wind and frost and help extend the growing season. Although production aspects inside high tunnels are similar to field production, high tunnel environment is challenging especially when it comes to temperature management. During summer, temperatures rise fairly quickly in high tunnels and can detrimentally affect crop growth and development. It is not uncommon to see temperatures above 100 degrees F inside high tunnels.

Kristine Lang

Kristine Neu
Graduate Student
Area of Expertise: 
Tomato Grafting, High Tunnel Production, Cereal Rye Cover Crop

Dr. Ajay Nair

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