Campus Units

Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Version

Published Version

Publication Date




Conference Title

2016 ASABE Annual International Meeting

Conference Date

July 17–20, 2016


Orlando, FL, United States


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



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