In a first, a trial has produced raspberries in a commercial berry operation in a house with an automatic retractable roof.

The trial of the variety Adelita is being done in a conventional tunnel and a retractable roof house near Ciudad Guzman in Jalisco, Mexico. The plants in the tunnel were transplanted May 15, 2017 and those in the retractable roof were transplanted 5 weeks later on June 20, 2017.

Clockwise from top left, Conventional Tunnel, Retractable Flat Roof House, Conventional and a Retractable Rood House

The raspberries are planted in a retractable roof house for blueberries, so the raspberry plants consequently are receiving the same irrigation and nutrition as the adjacent blueberry plants and are exposed to the environment based on the needs of the blueberry plants. 

They also get wet during rains since the roof covering is water porous and are being pollinated naturally by native bees. The raspberry plants in the tunnel are receiving irrigation and nutrition as per standard protocols for tunnels.

In spite of the climate and irrigation in the retractable roof not being optimised for the raspberries, the raspberry plants in the retractable roof house:
  • Are producing approximately 50-100% more primocanes
  • Have increased development of fruiting laterals
  • Have virtually no problems due to spotted mite or spotted wing drosophila (due to a better climate and 5m walls that are constantly closed to help reduce the entry of insects)
  • Have less problems with rust than those in the tunnels even though the retractable flat roof is allowing the frequent summer rains to fall on the crops

The trial will continue through the harvest season and will track yields, fruit size, brix and shelf life, disease and insect pressure and frequency of spray applications.

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