Crop production increases with high tunnels

Crop production increases with high tunnels

In West Virginia, farmers are extending the growing season and increasing profits with the help of a high tunnel Lunch n’ Learn series. High tunnels are simple structures that protect crops from extreme weather conditions like heavy rain, drought, excessive heat or high winds.

For the 2022 growing season, session participants reported a 50% increase in crop production. The farmers attributed the higher yields to adding new, cool-season crops in the fall. The additional crops increased income for the farmers by almost 45%.

Extension specialists from West Virginia University offered four virtual classes over Zoom during the lunch hour, covering topics on high tunnels such as set up and operation, disease and pest control, marketing and soil and nutrient management. Farmers who could not participate in the live sessions could access recordings of the educational series.

Farmers reported that as a result of the programming, they were able to improve their high tunnel crop production by implementing better ventilation, fertilization, pest control and irrigation techniques. The financial topics also helped them better determine retail prices for their food products and how to keep records more efficiently.

The high tunnel series will continue into 2023 to provide additional information on topics requested by farmers, including traditional and alternative planting and growing practices.

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