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

Gainesville Regional Airport.

City Commission Passes Ordinance To Regulate Uber

In an effort to even the scales, the Gainesville City Commission voted Thursday afternoon to regulate app-based transportation services like Uber. The ordinance will hold them to standards similar to those of traditional taxi drivers.


Donni Young works behind the counter at Pearl Country Store and Barbecue. She said this summer is the best the Micanopy convenience store and restaurant has seen in her three years as manager of it. Photo by Nicole Gomez

Local Businesses Prepare To Fight Anticipated Summer Slump

As summer rolls around and students leave north central Florida, local businesses make plans to fight the economic slump. This year, however, has been better than previous ones.


Cedar Key Bridge Closing Causes Debate

A bridge in Cedar Key that acts as the local thoroughfare is closing down for maintenance. Residents are concerned that closure will affect the local economy.


Steamers

Steamers Makes A Comeback, Opening In Bo Diddley Plaza

Four years after it closed, Steamers restaurant is back again with a new location. Owner Artie Guy is bringing the restaurant back to Gainesville in Bo Diddley Plaza. Set for an opening in May, the dining place will be in a central hub amid plaza renovations.


Foresight Construction Group employees attend a trade fair sponsored by the Central and North Florida Minority Supplier Development Council. From left to right, Melissa Segarra, marketing director, Juan Segarra, president and Maritza Rovira-Forino, minority business manager.

Gainesville Responds to Low Grades on NAACP Report Card

The City of Gainesville’s Equal Opportunity Committee met last Tuesday to continue to discuss a report card that indicated minorities are underrepresented in the city government.


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
Underwriting Payments