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Low Tunnel Speeds Up Sweet Corn
Darin Hubscher gives some of his sweet corn a boost by starting it under hoops and plastic. It got enough of a head start so that ears will be ready for roasting at a local celebration in late July. When your cornfield is located in central Saskatchewan, late July is early!
I grow about 8 acres of sweet corn, and this year I decided to try and ensure I had several rows ready for the Northwest Roundup, our local rodeo, explains Hubscher. I had to push snow off the field to plant, as I wanted it in early. I planted all 8 acres on the 29th of April.
As soon as the seed was in the ground, Hubscher and family pushed wire hoops in over each targeted row. He rigged up a rear-mounted rig to unroll and stretch perforated plastic over the hoops.
It was a first attempt, and Ill be making modifications this winter, says Hubscher. The plastic unrolled from a pipe on the 3-point hitch. The frame extends to the rear with wheels to hold down the plastic.
This year the job required helpers following behind, pushing dirt onto the held-down edges. The coulters hed installed didnt work as planned. Next year, Hubscher plans to refine them to better cover the plastic edges.
I had the plastic on for about 3 weeks, from the first of May on, says Hubscher. I took it off when the soil started to dry out.
He notes that when the sun was out on a 50-degree day, it would be 80 degrees inside the tunnel. As a result, the plastic-covered corn jumped about 3 weeks ahead of the bare-soil corn. By the third week of May, the corn that had been covered was tasseling.
While he has done a few events where he supplied cooked corn on the cob, this is his first large-scale event. Most of his sweet corn is sold fresh at local farm markets or from the farm.
Not only does it look like the added market will be successful, but the plastic significantly stretches out his harvest. If the planned improvements on the plastic stretcher work as hoped, Hubscher would consider making the implement for others.
I work for a manufacturing company. They might be available to build them if theres enough interest, says Hubscher.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Darin Hubscher, Box 3004, Swan River, Manitoba, Canada R0L 1Z0 (ph 204-281-4440; darinhubscher@gmail.com; Facebook: Worlds Sweetest Corn and Strawberries).

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2023 - Volume #47, Issue #4