During the 2015 and 2016 seasons, we made comparisons between low tunnels and non-tunnels to determine if the extra labor, time and expense in constructing the low tunnel system produces comparable yields, or if yields are significantly higher, making the low tunnel system profitable for growers.
At the West Central Research and Outreach Center (WCROC) site, we kept track of all time/labor (man-hours) spent on the low tunnel and non-low tunnel day-neutral strawberry systems. We determined that 10% more man-hours were spent on the low tunnel system than the non-low tunnel system due to the time spent constructing the low tunnel system.
In 2015 the yield in lbs. per acre at the WCROC site were similar between the low tunnel and non-low tunnel system. In 2016 yields with the non-low tunnel system were higher and therefore did not make up for the added expenses associated with low tunnel construction. In 2015 and 2016 at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities Campus (UMTC) site the yield in lbs. per acre were higher both years with low tunnels thus justifying the added expense associated with low tunnel construction.