Year of Publication

2014

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis

College

Agriculture, Food and Environment

Department

Plant and Soil Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Krista Jacobsen

Second Advisor

Dr. David McNeear

Abstract

Across the United States, high tunnels are used as a means of season extension and control over climatic variability in fruit and vegetable production. However, high tunnel systems are an intensive form of agricultural production which may compromise soil and crop quality over time. This study examined the effects of the varying environmental conditions, created in two types of tunnel system, movable and stationary, on the flow of nitrogen from amendment to plant and impact on crop and soil quality parameters. The way nutrients cycled through these systems was different and the nutrient treatments had no consistent effects on soil nutrient parameters, although some microbial groups were affected by the nature of the nutrient amendment. No exposure to rainfall resulted in an accumulation of leachable NO3 in the stationary tunnels. Spinach yields were superior to those in a previous study at the same site however, leaf NO3 levels consistently exceeded EU maximum limits for fresh-sap leaf NO3. We cannot conclude from our data if there was a compromise of crop or soil quality in the high tunnel production systems and further investigation is necessary as high tunnels gain in popularity and make a larger footprint on the agricultural landscape.

Included in

Agriculture Commons

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