There are three kinds of the tunnel, high, walk-in, and low tunnel. It is very important for the farmer to understand the advantage of each type of tunnel. Those types of vegetables which are less in height and spreading in nature are best-fit crops for the low tunnel. It is important that if farmers want to start tunnel farming then start from the low type in this way he can get experience. There is another big advantage is that the initial cost for the low tunnel is very low in comparison with walk-in and high tunnel. In this article, we will discuss low tunnels with each necessary description from start to end. There are the following outlines,
- Selection of material
- Crops are grown in a low tunnel
- Irrigation system
- Feasibility report of low tunnel
Tunnel farming structure
There are two types of structures that can be used for the low tunnel. It is up to the farmer to a selection of wooden material or iron material. Wooden material is selected but it has less surviving worth than iron structure. The wooden structure is cheaper than the iron structure. In iron structure, there are further different sizes are used by the farmer. The smaller the diameter lower the cost will be, it depends upon the farmer. It is suggested that always select the material with that diameter that did not get destroyed in rainy and hard wind blow conditions. There is price fluctuation in the market but according to a rough estimate, it ranges from 20-60 thousand depending on the type of quality of material, always selects wisely.
Plastic polythene is needed to cover the crop. There are different sizes of polythene but 0.4mm size is most recommended. It can be purchased in the net weight base depending upon the crop the farmer wants.
Mulch paper or black mulch needed for covering the beds is also another necessary part to keep the moisture level for a longer period and weed control as well. Plastic thread is also important to keep polythene steady in case of a rainy situation.
Crops which can be grown
As it is mentioned in the introductory paragraph that those vegetables can be grown easily which are spreading in nature and less in height. Normally, in Pakistan, summer vegetables are used in the forcing technique. Tomato with shrub in nature, chilies, vegetable marrow, cucurbits like melon, watermelon, and gourds can be grown in a low tunnel. This crop plantation time starts in November and these crops are covered at the end of November.
Tunnel farming cost per acre in Pakistan
400 iron rods per acre with 80 rupees per rod = 80 × 400 = 32,000 Rs.
Polythene plastic shopper per acre = 80 kg = 20,000 Rs.
Plastic thread (‘Dor’) = 5000 Rs.
Miscellaneous expenditure including black mulch + labor cost = 10,000 Rs.
Total estimated expenditure = 67,000 Rs.
This is a rough estimate of low tunnel price estimate and it may fluctuate according to different conditions like a market price, type of crop, the quantity of material, etc.
Drip irrigation is most recommended which conserves water and makes efficient use of fertilizer and this process is called fertigation. In drip irrigation, not only fertilizer can be used but also chemical spray formulation can be used as well.
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