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  • Author or Editor: Orlando F. Rodriguez Izaba x
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Cucumber (Cucumis sativus) is one of the most important vegetables produced and consumed in the United States. In the midwestern United States, a major obstacle to spring cucumber production is low soil temperatures during plant establishment. High tunnel is a popular tool for season extension of vegetable production. Low soil temperature is a challenge for cucumber production even inside high tunnels. Grafting is a cultural practice known to help control soilborne diseases and improve plants’ tolerance to abiotic stresses. Recent studies found that using grafted cucumber plants with cold-tolerant rootstocks greatly benefited early-season seedless cucumber production in high tunnels. The objective of this study was to analyze the economic feasibility of growing grafted cucumber in high tunnels. A comparison of partial costs and returns between growing grafted and nongrafted cucumbers in a high tunnel in Vincennes, IN, was conducted. Data were used to develop a partial budget analysis and sensitivity tests. Data included production costs, marketable yield, and price of cucumber through different market channels. This study provided a baseline reference for growers interested in grafting seedless cucumber and for high tunnel production. Although costs of grafted transplants were higher, their yield and potential revenue helped to offset the higher costs. Results indicated that grafting can help farmers increase net returns through the increasing yield of grafted plants. Results from the sensitivity analysis illustrated how the increased yield of grafted cucumbers offsets the extra cost incurred in the technique while providing a higher revenue. While actual production costs for individual farmers may vary, our findings suggested that grafting can be an economically feasible tool for high tunnel seedless cucumber production.

Open Access

Value-added (VA) technologies can help farmers in the specialty crops industry generate new products, increase off-season income sources, expand market access, and improve overall profitability. The United States Department of Agriculture defines VA agricultural products as those that have been changed physically or produced in a manner that enhances their value. Drawing from this definition, we investigated the adoption of VA technologies, such as drying, physical cutting into customer-ready portions, and washing, by specialty crops farmers. The objectives of this study were two-fold. First, we analyzed how market access drives specialty crop farmers to adopt VA technologies. Second, we addressed key identification issues by investigating the potential endogeneity between the adoption of VA technologies (vertical diversification) and the number of crops (horizontal diversification), which have not been addressed in the VA technology adoption literature. Data for this study were from a 2019 Web-based survey of specialty crops farmers in the United States. The results suggest that market access, growers’ networks, and crop diversification are major drivers of VA technology adoption in the specialty crops industry. The results indicate that farmers who adopted VA technologies experienced economic growth relative to their counterparts.

Open Access