Net house vegetable production (2011)

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This presentation was delivered by Dr. A at the 2011 Annual Conference of the Southern Region American Society for Horticulture Science at Corpus Christi, TX.

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Net house vegetable production (2011)

  1. 1. Large-scale Net House for Vegetable Production: Pest Management Successes & Challenges<br />Ayanava Majumdar<br />Extension Entomologist (Peanuts, Vegetables)<br />State SARE Coordinator (Auburn U)<br />Alabama Cooperative Extension System<br />&<br />Mike Powell<br />American Farm Systems <br />(PolyProductos de Guatemala)<br />
  2. 2. Vegetable Production in Alabama<br />50 vegetables produced<br />2006: 5700 acres >> 2008: 5,950 acres<br />100% fresh market produce<br />Value: ~$17 million<br />Tomato: ~1300 acres = $12 million<br />6 organic producers<br />
  3. 3. Need for net house research<br />Insect pest pressures in southeast U.S. are very high (struggle for organic producers)<br />Vegetable production is insecticide dependent<br />Blocking insects by physical exclusion reduces insecticide use (nothing new!)<br />Net house is a closed crop production system that excludes insect pests via a physical barrier.<br />Could be of interest to organic farmers…<br />
  4. 4. Past research on insect netting<br />Martin et al. (2006): Africa, cabbage production, 25-mesh, reduction in caterpillars - Spodopteralittoralis66%, Trichoplusiani97%, Hellulaundalis88%, Plutellaxylostella (moths) 78%, no change in aphids (6% infestation), net return $247, 3-10x spray reduction<br />Fang-Cheng et al. (2010): China, tomato seedlings, 50-mesh, whitefly reduction 98%, 5x spray reduction, small structure<br />Harmanto (2006), Mutwiwa & Tantau (2009): Germany, greenhouse + netting (50-mesh), 40% reduction in air velocity, thrips & whitefly reduction on tomatoes<br />Movable net house (Africa)<br />Low net house (Malaysia)<br />
  5. 5. Past research on large net houses<br />Talekar et al. (2003): Taiwan, 15 crop cycles of leafy greens, 2 m or 6.5 ft structure, 32-mesh net<br />Kaur et al. (2004): India, egg plant production, doubled plant yield in net house, mesh size??<br />Anonymous (2010): Malaysia, okra & tomato<br />Anonymous (2008): Vietnam, cost $186<br />Guatemala, Israel: commercial tomato & bell pepper in net houses<br />Large net house (India)<br />Large net house (Vietnam)<br />
  6. 6. Large net house vegetable production (Guatemala)<br />Large commercial scale net house<br />Photos:<br />Polyproductos de Guatemala<br />Top Greenhouses Ltd., Israel<br />
  7. 7. Commercial net houses in the U.S.<br />Top Greenhouse Ltd., Israel: flat net houses on 280,000 m2 (~70 acres) in CA; bell pepper, tomato, chili production.<br />Commercial citrus production, FL<br />
  8. 8. First net house in Alabama (2010)<br />Location: Baldwin County, AL <br />Dimensions: 150 ft x 46 ft<br />Entrance: Double door<br />50-mesh fabric (any between above 16- to 50-mesh is fine)<br />Mesh size depends on target insect & cost<br />Height provides air movement…fans can also be installed<br />Crops, 2010: Celebrity tomatoes, California Wonder peppers<br />
  9. 9. The making of a net house… <br />April 2010: Setting up the poles<br />April 2010: Sewing the long net pieces <br />17-ft<br />14-ft<br />April 2010: Stretching the support cables<br />May 2010: Fabric on cable with S-hooks <br />
  10. 10. Soil preparation before sealing side-walls<br />Mid-May, 2010<br />10 ft<br />17 ft<br />14 ft<br />
  11. 11. Crops grown with partial success (Year 1)<br />40% black shade cloth for cooling the interior!<br />Tomatoes<br />Bell peppers<br />
  12. 12. Temperature and humidity challenge*<br />*Year 2010 was an unusually dry and hot year in Alabama: increased disease pressure and shocked the plants<br />AWIS = Alabama Weather Information System<br />
  13. 13. Does net house block insect pests?<br />Pheromone trap catches (moths)<br />Trapping method: Sticky wing trap with replaceable bottom were used for season long monitoring of moths. Traps were serviced every 10 days.<br />
  14. 14. Does net house block insect pests?<br />Caterpillar counts: Net house vs. conventional vegetables<br />Sampling method: Number of caterpillars in 10 plants every 10 ft of row. Plants sampled from 4 locations each row (4 replications). Sampling done in July 2010.<br />
  15. 15. Insects in a net house<br /><ul><li>Cotton aphid (Aphis gossypii) and potato aphid (Macrosiphumeuphorbiae) outbreaks in July.
  16. 16. Managed with one spray of Fulfill 50WDG (selective feeding blocker)
  17. 17. Armyworm moths lay eggs on fabric near joints
  18. 18. Grasshopper infestation may start from ground
  19. 19. Ants in the doorway</li></ul>Armyworm eggs on fabric<br />Grasshopper resting on sidewall<br />Ants in doorway<br />
  20. 20. Future research on net house<br />Heat stress and diseases like Pythium root rot on tomatoes<br />Net house for season extension: raising seedlings within the structure vs. outside transplants?<br />Exclusion of natural enemies & pollinators: may need inundative release of parasitoids and bees??<br />Use of microbial formulations?<br />
  21. 21. Summary of net house research<br /><ul><li>Heat stressand humidity cause insect and disease flare-ups
  22. 22. Moths significantly blocked by net house (80 to 100%)
  23. 23. Net house significantly reduced caterpillars(except armyworms)
  24. 24. Vegetables outside net house sprayed twice each week
  25. 25. One insecticide application for aphids in net house
  26. 26. Yield data not collected in 2010
  27. 27. Findings are in accordance with reports by
  28. 28. Martin et al. (2006): major reduction in insecticide sprays
  29. 29. Talekar et al. (2003): armyworms and grasshopper outbreaks</li></ul>QUESTIONS?<br />

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