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High Tunnel System

Practice Code: 325
Reporting Unit: Number (Ft2)

A High tunnel system is an enclosed polyethylene, polycarbonate, plastic, or fabric covered structure that is used to cover and protect crops from sun, wind, excessive rainfall, or cold, to extend the growing season in an environmentally safe manner.

Purposes and Benefits

  • Improves plant quality
  • Improves soil quality
  • Improves quality of fruits and vegetables
  • Improves water quality from reduced nutrient and pesticide transport
  • Improves air quality through reduced transportation inputs
  • Reduces energy use through local consumption

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Ground Disturbing Potential of Conservation Practices

This is a potential ground disturbing conservation practice. Any project with ground disturbing or potential ground disturbing practices planned may need to be submitted for review by the State Historic Preservation Officer and Tribal Historic Preservation Officers. Please see the Cultural Resources Review Process Flowchart for an outline of this process. View a list of conservation practices used in New York State, and their ground disturbing potential.   

Conservation Practice Documents

Web link image: Field Office Technical GuideDocuments associated with this and other conservation practices are available at the NRCS Field Office Technical Guide Web site.


Related Conservation Practices

This practice is commonly used in a Conservation Management System with practices such as:

Conservation Crop Rotation (328)
Critical Area Planting (342)
Diversion (362)
Mulching (with plastic) (484)
Mulching (with organic materials) (484)
Nutrient Management (590)
Roof Runoff Structure (558)
Underground Outlet (620)

Additional Information

The following Web sites provide additional information related to this conservation practice.

Cornell High Tunnels - Cornell University Department of Horticulture

This Web site is part of a USDA-sponsored project that is testing and promoting high tunnel systems.

High Tunnel Production - University of Minnesota

2003 High Tunnel Production Manual - North American Strawberry Growers Association (NASGA)
The 2003 High Tunnel Production Manual offers the latest information for putting this innovative technology to work.

If you want to learn how you can protect natural resources on your farm or forest land, please contact your local NRCS Service Center.


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