Machinery and Equipment Guide

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Machinery and equipment required for zucchini production will vary by a grower’s preferred production method and operation size. The following discussion shares basic machinery and equipment needs for zucchini production. Depending on a grower’s operation size, expertise and previous machinery investments, the grower must determine whether to purchase and operate the equipment, engage a custom service provider or possibly rent and operate the necessary equipment.

Machinery and Equipment Needs

To prepare the zucchini planting site, producers may use a V-ripper, disk and cultipacker. Machinery operations for zucchini planting site preparation may begin during the fall before planting. Plowing planting sites in the fall will manage plant residues, which may otherwise serve as an overwinter cover for pests and harbor for diseases. If producers begin tillage activities during the fall or early spring before planting, then they can better incorporate field residues and encourage them to degrade. By adopting early site preparation, weeds may have a chance to germinate, and producers could control those weeds early.

A bed shaper can form the raised beds used in zucchini production . Raised beds should measure 5- to 8-inch heights. Forming a bed will make the planting site uniform and encourage an even zucchini establishment.

Producers may then cover the planting area with plastic mulch and lay the drip irrigation tape. If using plastic mulch, then planting seed or transplants will require puncturing the plastic. To do this, producers may hire hand labor, use a waterwheel setter or procure other equipment that can directly seed zucchini into an area covered with the plastic mulch. The table below assumes using hand labor for planting.

In planting areas that use plastic mulch, the mulch itself may curtail weed problems. To address other weed issues, management options include mechanical cultivation, which could remove weeds growing between rows. Because summer squash plants have shallow roots that are sensitive to pruning, care should be taken when using cultivation. Mechanical cultivation should only disturb soil 1 inch to 2 inches below the surface. Zucchini producers could also remove weeds by hand. As another alternative, producers may consider herbicide applications. To control insects, producers may apply pesticides. Spraying zucchini with fungicides may aid disease control.

Harvesting zucchini will require hand labor. Producers should take caution when harvesting zucchini, which can easily bruise or scratch. Instead of pulling or twisting zucchini from the plant, cut the squash. Typically, zucchini aren’t stored because of their short shelf lives. Thus, this guide doesn’t consider cold storage equipment needs. However, if short-term storage is necessary, then zucchini require temperatures than range from 41 degrees F to 50 degrees F and 95 percent relative humidity levels.

Cleaning zucchini fields after harvest first involves mowing the crop residues. Then, the plastic mulch and drip tape must be disposed. To remove and condense plastic mulch and drip tape after harvest, producers may use a plastic roller.

Equipment and Machinery Needs for Zucchini Production

Tractor X
V-ripper X
Disk X
Cultipacker X
Bed shaper X
Mulch layer X
Boom sprayer X
Mower X
Plastic roller X



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