The term “plasticulture” refers to the use of plastic for the benefit of agricultural production. In practice, plasticulture may be used to describe agricultural systems that utilize plastic-covered structures to extend growing seasons and protect crops from excess moisture, extreme weather, and other threats; ground-laid plastic mulch films; plastic-based precision irrigation systems (i.e. drip irrigation); and, greenhouse and nursery production utilizing plastic containers; among others. While the technologies used in plasticulture systems are similar across the globe, the sources, methods of use, maintenance, and end-of-life strategies of those technologies are dependent on geographic and climatic constraints. For this reason, a Washington-centric repository of plasticulture knowledge and resources would benefit growers in Washington state, and the Pacific Northwest, in general. Therefore, we will develop a web-based resource, plasticulture.wsu.edu to collect and disseminate information on plasticulture in Washington state. Additionally, new video media will be produced by the project team and published to the website.
- Principal Investigator(s): Cowan, J.
- Investigator(s): Miles, C.
- Grant Amount: $4996
Plasticulture webpage, http://plasticulture.wsu.edu, deployed 13 January 2015.
Short-Term: A web-based resource was created to archive and disseminate information on certain plastics-based technologies for application in Washington state and Pacific Northwest agriculture. The structure of this website will allow for easy updates to existing resources, and the addition of new resources and categories. This web-based resource is up-to-date, searchable, and indexed to improve its usability and visibility to the general public.
Intermediate-Term: Washington and Pacific Northwest producers will utilize the information and tools provided on the plasticulture website to plan, implement, and evaluate the use of various plastics-based agricultural technologies. Where utilized appropriately, plastics-based technologies will improve crop quality and the economic sustainability of Washington state and Pacific Northwest farms.
Long-Term: As plastics-based technologies find a greater presence in Washington state agriculture, the bank of practical knowledge will expand into new communities. Consequently, Washington state growers will extend their growing seasons, reduce the need for chemical interventions, conserve water, and improve their overall operations.