December 3, 2008

Software Partnerships And Integration

Unity within our industry is a huge catalyst for growth so we are committed to expanding our value through strategic partnerships and integrations. Our most recent partnership and integration is with Ball Seed. It will allow growers to receive purchase orders (PO) from Ball Seed, confirm plantings of POs, verify weekly availability and receive shipments all electronically over the Internet. In the future, more growers will demand from technology the ability to produce better products more efficiently. This is why we believe handhelds and production management software are the future.  In a nutshell, handhelds increase inventory visibility while reducing labor and increasing accuracy. Production management software gives growers the ability to manage production based on historical data, not just intuition, which will ultimately help grow better product with less resources. Another piece of technology on the horizon for us is the use of radio-frequency identification (RFID). With RFID, truckloads of plants […]

Read More

December 3, 2008

Automating Nutrition

The biggest trend I see for growers is the need to inject different fertilizer or different amounts of fertilizer to different crops, where and when they choose. Today, plant material varieties vary widely in their fertilizer requirements. No longer is it practical to run the same fertilizer and fertilizer concentrations throughout the entire greenhouse range. Looking to the future, growers will need dedicated fertilizer injectors for each crop so that they can have total flexibility to inject any fertilizer formulation, pesticide, plant growth regulator, etc., at will. All of this will be done through automated watering systems, thus eliminating watering errors and extra labor costs. Growers will continue to demand injectors that are highly accurate and reliable while also being easy to use and maintain. Companies that excel in customer service and offer advanced technology to obtain that service will become the leaders in this field. Long gone will be […]

Read More

October 29, 2008

Top Dramm Valve Now Weighs Less

The only complaints Dramm ever received about its brass shutoff valve surrounded its weight. The valve was simply a tad too heavy, but Dramm introduces the No. 22373 aluminum body shutoff to address this concern. The original product is still available in brass as product No. 300. The new-look valve is crafted with the same engineering, design and components, and the company says its new aluminum body valve is just as durable as the original. The fact the body of the valve is now crafted using aluminum reduces the weight by about one-third. For more information on the new valve or other Dramm products, visit www.dramm.com.

Read More

September 22, 2008

Optional Flexibility

Businesses face a never-ending fight to control costs. For today’s growers, that means finding ways to minimize capital greenhouse expenses, energy costs and lost product. The Nexus Atrium and Dual Atrium technology addresses each of those concerns, providing growers with both cost control and flexibility in running their operations. “We are committed to understanding the needs of our customers, so we’re very much in tune with the cost and market pressures they face,” says Jeff Warschauer, vice president of sales for Nexus. “That understanding enables us to develop technologies that address our customers’ key issues, whether to control energy costs or to increase protection of crops due to sudden weather change.” The Nexus Atrium and Dual Atriums offer distinct advantages, from energy efficiency to plant protection. The cornerstone of the Atrium’s design is a unique ridge vent that opens outward and upward from the top of the ridge, providing a […]

Read More

September 22, 2008

Transplanting Technology

Eight months into the job, Speedling Inc.’s president and CEO David Robbins has been exploring the potential to expand the plug producer’s global footprint in vegetables and ornamentals while bringing transplant technology to a wide range of agricultural markets. Based in Sun City, Fla., Speedling is owned by Wearn Brothers Ltd. (WBL) in Singapore. It has eight production facilities in the United States and 10 in China. In the U.S. ornamentals market, Speedling ranks at No. 5 on our Top 100 Growers with 5,322,000 square feet of greenhouse production, 37 percent of which is offshore. On our Top 25 Young Plant Growers, Speedling ranks at No. 4, producing more than 300 million plugs a year. Robbins came to Speedling from perennials powerhouse Northwest Horticulture in Mt. Vernon, Wash. Prior to that, he was COO and CFO of vegetable transplant grower Greenheart Farms in California for 13 years. He expanded that […]

Read More

August 25, 2008

New Product Shorts

Trailer Tracking Prophesy Dispatch: Prophesy Dispatch and TrackerSeries now work in tandem with the TransCore GlobalWave satellite trailer tracking device to improve accuracy and reliability when managing and assigning trailers. The Prophesy Dispatch automatically imports GPS data from the GlobalWave devices and updates the trailer data throughout the system. www.mile.com Add-On Benefit SBI Nursery Software: Instead of checking each plant for phytosanitary integrity at the shipping dock, SBI has developed a USNCP Certification add-on module that allows certified nurseries to more readily ship across the border to Canada by certifying a grower’s process instead. The system also helps track and keep a paper trail on the plants. www.sbinursery.com Don’t Call Me Short ITML Horticultural Products, Inc.: With its stone-like appearance, the 13.51 DecoStone Squat Pot has an extra wide base for stability and a dual drain bottom for drainage. Designed to accommodate a greater volume of soil, the Squat Pot […]

Read More

August 25, 2008

Send Us Your Labor Savers

What has really saved you labor in the greenhouse? Is it a piece of equipment? Reconfiguring the way the work is organized? New way of doing things? Supplies like trays for pots that fit with automation? What has made the difference? We want to know. Contact Greenhouse Grower’s Editor Delilah Onofrey at donofrey@meistermedia.com. We will present 25 ways to save labor in our October issue.

Read More

July 24, 2008

New Product Showcase: Keep Shipments Moving

Rising fuel prices and shrinking freight capacity have recently combined forces, creating a “double-whammy” that is drastically increasing the cost of transportation and distribution for most growers. It is no surprise that an increasing number of growers now embrace the latest advances in logistical technology, like the InMotion Global© Transportation Management System, to achieve immediate and long-term cost savings. It’s not easy for growers to pass along escalating costs, which force them to search for new tools and partners to increase productivity and reduce overhead in every aspect of their businesses. Given the size, scope and complexity of these enterprises, most growers cannot afford to search for new cost efficiencies while conducting day-to-day business. InMotion Global (IMG) was specifically designed “for growers by growers.” From load inception through final delivery, IMG includes hundreds of industry-specific features that centralize and streamline the entire transportation process. Utilizing the “Software-as-a-Service” model, IMG is […]

Read More

July 24, 2008

New Product Shorts

Versatility On Wheels Fold-A-Tools: Not your typical wheelbarrow, Fold-A-Cart collapses in seconds for easy storage. The multi-purpose cart’s tub is made of a puncture resistant, waterproof FLEXTRON material, and available in two sizes, 6 and 9 cubic feet capacities with 150 and 400 pound payloads, respectively. www.foldacart.com What Drought? Natural Industries: STASIS, unlike foliar spray anti-transpirants, is a drenched into the soil with irrigation water. Upon contact, plants naturally self-induce stomatal closing, enabling them to stay in a “drought resistant” state for up to three weeks or until normal watering is resumed. www.naturalindustries.com Planters Made Easy Ball Horticultural Company: Designed to be plantable, time saving, and reduce transplant shock for plants, My Easy Planters can be planted directly into containers. Its slotted design allows plants’ roots to grow out of the planter and into the container’s soil. My Easy Planter comes in a number of sizes and pot capacities. www.ballhort.com […]

Read More

July 22, 2008

Heating Up Your Place

Automated Ash Removal Bio-Fuel Technologies: The chain grate multi-fuel boiler turns existing waste into heat and reduces or eliminates fuel costs. Various sizes and types of fuels can be transferred through the system and burned in the boiler. Low maintenance is required, the boiler features automated control and it burns most dry organic wastes like corn cobs, flax shrive and rice hulls. www.bio-fueltechnologies.com Saving On Energy Total Energy Group: Holland Heaters are efficient, direct-fired units. Due to their clean burning, all heat can be sent directly into the greenhouse. There’s no need to use a chimney or exhaust stack, and the largest unit available has a capacity of 440,000 BTU. The heater has an air throw of 150 feet, and it can be hung directly from trusses. www.totalenergygroup.com Custom Engineered Hamilton Engineering: Pre-plumbed packages come complete with all the piping needed for system assembly. Pre-plumbing avoids the problems and delays […]

Read More

July 22, 2008

Finding An Alternative

The alternative fuel trend has been around for while now and many growers have tried several fuels to heat their greenhouses. Some have proven efficient and effective, but others aren’t working out as well. We checked back in with Walters Gardens, Zeeland, Mich. The operation has used a biomass burner to supplement natural gas heaters for three years. Here’s a Q&A with Jim Bakker and Susan Martin of Walters Gardens Inc. on how the experiment has gone and what the future holds for alternative fuels. Q. What alternative fuels are you using (corn, wood, etc.)? What kind of fuel does it replace? A. Originally, we intended to use corn for fuel in our biomass burner. After working through some difficulties with that and trialing some alternatives, we settled on burning wood pellets. They work very well in our biomass burner, burning with little ash, smoke, smell or waste. Our biomass […]

Read More