WUFT News

Tunnels shelter blueberries from winter weather

By on November 20th, 2012

Freezing temperatures damage Florida’s $80 million blueberry industry, but a University of Florida study shows that expensive “high tunnels” may protect and improve the crops.

Made of metal bent in half circles, the tunnels can be eight to 10 feet long and as high as 16 or 18 feet, said Bielinski Santos, an associate professor of the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences at UF.

The structures range between 20 and 30 feet wide, he said.

The height allows farmers to move machinery in and out, he said. It also allows for temperature regulation.

The tunnels can protects crops like strawberries, blueberries, tomatoes and peppers.

The UF study tracked blueberries grown in and outside the high tunnels at an Alachua County farm. Plants grown in the tunnels produced about 4.5 tons of ripe fruit; the plants grown outside produced nothing.

In some cases, the tunnels increase the crop’s yield and earliness, Santos said. The structures can also increase quality, by protecting against harsh temperatures, diseases and insects.

The tunnels cost $18,000 to $25,000 to install.

Santos said the tunnels are a smart economic investment because they can last up to 20 years.

Katherine Hahn wrote this story online.


This entry was posted in Business, Environment, Florida, Local, University of Florida and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Business

GRU

Gainesville Hires Third Party for GRU Audit, Examines GREC Contract

Gainesville Regional Utilities will be audited by a third party to investigate a 30-year contract between the company and the owners of a biomass plant.


The average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gas in Gainesville is $3.29, according to GasBuddy.com. Prices can be found higher or lower throughout the city as shown at this Citgo on the corner of South Main Street and Southwest 16th Avenue.

Gainesville Gas Prices Remain Above Average

Gainesville consistently has higher gas prices than other big Florida cities. This can be traced to lack of competitive gas station chains, transportation costs and location.


On Monday, October 6, 2014, Gainesville Area Innovation Network (GAIN) hosted it's fourth annual ShootOut in the Harn Museum at the University of Florida to connect investors with start-up companies.

Local Start-ups Compete In GAIN ShootOut

Sixteen local start-up companies competed Monday afternoon for one of four top spots to win over $7,000 in cash prizes for their company. Investors and entrepreneurs attended the 4th Annual ShootOut presented by Gainesville Area Innovation Network (GAIN) at the [...]


Nationwide Insurance is moving 100 jobs from its regional operations in Gainesville over the next two years.

Nationwide Insurance Relocating 100 Gainesville Jobs

Nationwide Insurance is moving 100 jobs from its Gainesville regional operations over the next two years. The consolidation is limited to the regional operations, according to spokesman Eric Hardgrove. Nationwide Insurance will still employ about 800 employees at its claims service center in Gainesville. The plan will affect property and [...]


Final four winners of the first annual SEC Pizza Championship. The championship was held during the Oxford Craft Beer Festival in Oxford, Miss.

Gainesville Pizzeria Owner Places Third in First SEC Pizza Cook-off

Satchel Raye, owner of Satchel’s Pizza in Gainesville, came in third place in the first annual SEC Pizza Championship. Every competitor was offered a position on the U.S. Pizza Team, which would then compete in the World Pizza Championship, but Raye declined.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments