Baby-leaf salad crops are gaining in popularity throughout the U.S. but managing the timing for harvest can be challenging as a few days of warm weather can push the crop beyond marketable size. Growers can manage this production risk through flexible harvest and marketing strategies: mechanical harvesters can cut the crop slightly higher so as to meet baby-leaf size expectations; the crop can be left in the field for a few more days and harvested as bunching leafy greens; or the crop can be harvested then removed and allowed to regrow. When the crop is cut about 1 inch above the soil without damaging the meristem, the crop will regrow and be ready for harvest in 5-7 days. Mechanical harvesters can be used to harvest leafy greens of several sizes, and as they only require two people to operate, they significantly reduce the need for labor. Leafy green crops are also well suited to spring and fall production in many regions, and to winter production in some regions, especially with season extension tools (e.g., row covers, low tunnels, high tunnels). Thus growers are able to diversify production and marketing into three or four seasons. We have developed a curriculum on leafy green crops for undergraduate university students, many of whom will either farm or become agricultural professionals, and we have developed a grower production manual for baby-leaf salad production. New information for leafy green crops is disseminated to students and growers through lectures, field days, workshops, conferences, and the web.
|Conference||2015 Extension Risk Management Education National Conference|
|Presentation Type||30-Minute Concurrent|