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Economic analysis of row cover insect exclusion for cucurbit crops
Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering Conference Proceedings and Presentations
  • H. Mark Hanna, Iowa State University
  • Danielle N. Polk, Iowa State University
  • Kurt A. Rosentrater, Iowa State University
  • Brian L. Steward, Iowa State University
Document Type
Conference Proceeding
Publication Version
Published Version
Publication Date
Conference Title
2016 ASABE Annual International Meeting
Conference Date
July 17–20, 2016
(28.5383355, -81.37923649999999)
Cucurbit crops are vulnerable to fungal infections spread by insects which act as a disease vector. Excluding insects by covering rows of cucurbit crops in a low tunnel structure offers an alternative to insecticide application. Differences in costs for using spunbond polypropylene (e.g. Agribon) or polyethylene mesh (e.g. Proteknet) as row covers were compared with a conventional chemical application strategy. Costs of materials, machinery, and insecticide were calculated for ten years of operation on 0.2, 0.4, 0.8, 2, or 4 ha (0.5, 1, 2, 5, or 10 acres). The total costs of the spunbond polypropylene system were $1620/ha to $5290/ha ($650/acre to $2140/acre) greater than the conventional system depending on operational size. Smaller production areas were more costly due to machinery costs. The polyethylene mesh system was $1500/ha ($600/acre) more costly than using spunbond polypropylene due to material costs. A truck-mounted sprayer became more cost effective than a backpack sprayer as operational size increased beyond 0.8 ha (2 acre). The increased costs of the row cover strategy will need to be off-set by increased yield or value of the cucurbit crop (i.e. organic sales).

This paper is from 2016 ASABE Annual International Meeting, Paper No. 162461363, pages 1-7 (doi: 10.13031/aim.20162461363). St. Joseph, Mich.: ASABE. Posted with permission.

Copyright Owner
American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers
File Format
Citation Information
H. Mark Hanna, Danielle N. Polk, Kurt A. Rosentrater and Brian L. Steward. "Economic analysis of row cover insect exclusion for cucurbit crops" Orlando, FL, United States(2016)
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