ARDMORE, Okla. — Hoop houses (high tunnels) have long been used by agricultural producers to extend the growing season and to establish crops earlier as compared to crops grown in the field. A growing trend in the horticulture industry is the idea of a moveable hoop house that would provide more flexibility and versatility, and allow a grower to establish multiple crops within a year.
Noble Research Institute research horticulturist Charles Rohla, Ph.D., received a two-year, $144,880 specialty crop block grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry to conduct a research project with mobile hoop houses. The grant will support Rohla in evaluating the potential benefits of the moveable hoop houses compared to traditional field production and permanent hoop house structures.
"This project will benefit specialty crop growers throughout the nation who are interested in growing both summer and winter crops utilizing protected structures," Rohla said. "Many producers aren't familiar with moveable hoop houses, so this study will allow growers to see the benefits of utilizing the entire growing season of crops."
The long-term goal of the study is to evaluate the moveable houses and to educate interested growers on the benefits of using the houses in their cropping systems. The project will examine the length of the growing season and total production of selected vegetables produced in each system. It will provide the data to determine if these structures allow growers to maximize the growing season of chosen crops while still allowing growers to establish additional crops that can benefit from these structures.
This research is part of the Noble Research Institute's Center for Pecan and Specialty Agriculture (CPSA). The CPSA conducts research and demonstrations that will enhance production as well as educate producers and the community on opportunities in specialty agriculture. Beginning in 2017, field days will be conducted during the growing season to inform and educate producers about the technology being used.
"Interest in specialty agriculture continues to rise as the population increases, agricultural land availability decreases and consumers become more interested in food production," Rohla said. "This growing trend has created the opportunity for the Noble Research Institute to further examine this critical area of agriculture."