What is the High Tunnel Pest Exclusion System?

High tunnel pest exclusion system in greenhouse

One of the biggest problems facing organic production systems is insect pests. Without an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) system, lost of yield can be nearly 100%. The typical Organic IPM practice is a three-tiered approach that includes:

  • systems-based practices
  • mechanical tactics
  • biorational insecticides

The mechanical tactics often rely on physical barriers to block out unwanted pests. But the typical physical barriers used (like floating row covers and metallic collars) only provide short-term protection.

However, there is a promising new concept being developed by the Alabama Cooperative Extension at Auburn University that gives organic growers another option. It’s called the high tunnel pest exclusion (HTPE) system, and it uses shade cloths as a more permanent barrier system around high tunnels, which makes a structure that resembles a “net house” (an effective insect pest control device that is popular in many European, Asian and African countries). This new system could have an immediate and significant impact on crop production in the Southeast U.S.

Read the full article on SouthernShare.org to learn about the pros and cons of this new system.