April 19, 2018

The economics of growing low tunnel strawberries


 Establishment costs for creating a low tunnel system are important to consider for any strawberry grower.  Based on our 2013 growing season, we developed the following table (see below) using our actual costs for creating a low tunnel day-neutral strawberry system. 

Establishment Costs

Variable Costs per 100 feet
Fertilizer $11.67
Fertigation injector (2 gal) $73.00
Pesticides $2.78

Dormant strawberry transplants                           approx. $125 per 1,000 plants

Irrigation, drip tape                                                    $160 per 7,500′ roll $2.22
Mulch, plastic (white on black)                                  $105 per 2,400’x4′ roll  $5.00
Greenhouse plastic film $144.00
Stainless steel rods                                                  21 rods needed for a 100′ row $58.00
Landscape fabric (for walkways)                            $55 for 3’/300′ roll $27.50
2 Spring tensioners, 2 anchors, rope and stoppers $21.00
1 lb. plastic qt containers for harvesting and selling    approx. yield = 1 lb per plant, 200 plants per 100’row $10.00
Total Variable Costs $380.17










* Labor is variable.  If you plan to maintain your low tunnel system on your own, you may not have any paid labor.  Our project included several hired employees to assist with planting, strawberry flower and runner removal, and harvesting.

Some of the above costs can be used in subsequent growing seasons, such as the fertilizer injector, stainless steel rods, and the spring tensioners, anchors, rope and stoppers.  The greenhouse film and landscape fabric should last for two seasons.  You will need to account for costs associated with fertilizer, pesticides, transplants, irrigation drip tape, mulch and containers for each growing season.