Kathy Demchak: Taking berry production to the next level

Kathy Demchak, Sr. Extension Associate, in the Department of Plant Science focuses on berry crops, conducting research and demonstration work on high tunnel berry production. Demchak is part of a large Specialty Crops Research Initiative project entitled “Optimizing Protected Culture Environments for Berry Crops”, headed by Eric Hanson at Michigan State University.
Kathy Demchak

Kathy Demchak

Date and Location

When (Date/Time)

November 28, 2017, 10:30 AM - 11:30 AM


The Village at Penn State, 260 Lion's Hill Road, State College, PA

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Strawberries and raspberries are high value crops that are also perishable and fragile.  For this reason, much of the world’s production is either in locations with optimum growing conditions and little rain during the harvest season such as California, or under protected structures such as high tunnels and greenhouses.  Use of protective structures coupled with new varieties makes it possible to lengthen the harvest season and increase yields, quality and shelf-life tremendously even in areas with short growing seasons such as Pennsylvania.  Beyond these benefits,  it has also become apparent that the coverings used on protective structures not only affect plant growth, but also can affect insect behavior and disease incidence by blocking certain wavelengths of sunlight to which some pests are attuned.  Researchers at Penn State are working together with colleagues at six other Universities in the U.S., the USDA, and in Europe to determine how to best optimize these effects.

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