July 7, 2008

Saving On Labor

1. Speedy Potting AgriNomix: The IM1800 potting machine can fill containers up to 19 1/2 inches, using the single or double interchangeable soil chutes. The standard vibrator below the potting bench helps ensure the desired compaction level. Mobility is provided with pneumatic tires, castor wheels and forklift guides. The IM1800 is capable of filling up to several hundred pots per hour.  www.agrinomix.com 2. Clean Technology Amiad Filtration Systems: The Electric Fertilizer Injector (EFI) can be linked to a main irrigation computer to deliver preset rates controlled by an in-line water meter to adjust injection rates based on actual flows in the irrigation system. The EFI computer features a built-in data logger that keeps precise fertilizer application records, and that can sound alarms when necessary. www.amiadusa.com 3. Controlling Your Surroundings Argus Control Systems: The new Titan control system is a comprehensive computer control system for managing growing environments, irrigation systems and […]

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July 7, 2008

Hands-Off Production

Between lowering margins and reducing labor, automation in the greenhouse is more important now than ever. The less human intervention required to keep production flowing, the better. You could also argue, though, that when times are tough, making an investment in expensive equipment is tougher. Larger operations, like those on our Top 100 Growers list, are a good place to look for the types of automation that provide the quickest return on investment and make the greenhouse flow more smoothly.  Automation In The Green House For Casa Verde Growers, the greenhouse growing operation of Petitti Garden Centers, finding labor hasn’t been too much of an issue. Casa Verde is enrolled in the H-2A program, providing labor. Most workers return year after year. Still, automation has been extensive and includes six transplant lines, each staffed with four to five people, including one person to lay down plants in the greenhouse. Newer greenhouses […]

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June 25, 2008

John Deere Acquires Drip Irrigation Company

John Deere recently acquired T-Systems International, a major manufacturer of greenhouse irrigation applications with facilities in Australia, France and the United States. “T-Systems International is a highly regarded global company with premier products, experienced talent, strong distribution and established operations in key agricultural irrigation markets,” says Michael McGrady, president of John Deere Water Technologies. “The addition of T-Systems expands John Deere Water Technologies’ manufacturing footprint to three countries with marketing in over 60.” T-Systems International was established in 1977.

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June 24, 2008

More Choices, More Solutions

    Summit Plastic Company continues to grow its JanorPot product line by including a low-profile 19-cm XL mum pot. This pot, as well as the rest of the line, is duo layered. The interior is black recycled material that provides an ideal environment for strong root development. The exterior layer is one of the standard colors (black, terracotta, white, green and gray) or a specific custom color (minimums required). An added feature is the punched dual-level drainage system designed for optimum water and aeration exchange for quicker rooting, which maximizes the plants’ growth potential.  Branding And Labeling Being aware of growers’ needs, Summit Plastic has designed this pot along with a low-profile fill tray specifically for the mum market. This system includes the low-profile pot (7.5-inch by 5-inch and volume of 2.63 quarts) and fill tray (1 by 3 configuration with an outside dimension of 5 ¾-inches by 22 […]

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June 24, 2008

Backup Generators: Easy Sleep Made Easy

I’ve done my share of risky things. I’ve been into extreme sports my whole life, jumped off high cliffs just for fun and driven way too fast for my own good (or the good of my insurance premiums). I’ve even dated a Sicilian girl with two large brothers before. These are just a few of the risks I’m willing to go on the record about — there’s more, believe me (and probably a lot more than I can recall!) One thing I’ve never willingly risked is my livelihood. Like many of you, I’ve been blessed to work in a field I am passionate about. Therefore, I make sure to keep my priorities straight and have backup plans in place in case something unforseen happens. Which brings us to the topic of generators. As the chart shows, a recent survey conducted in our Benchrunner e-newsletter showed that about one-fifth of growers […]

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June 24, 2008

New Product Shorts

  Precise Concentration  HANNA Instruments: The HANNA Fertigation System provides precise control of pH and fertilizer injection. Unlike flow-driven systems of the past, the HANNA Fertigation System constantly measures the actual EC and pH of the water, allowing the system to add the precise concentration of fertilizer directly to the irrigation supply. The HANNA System is a bypass system, which does not limit line flow or pressure, allowing injection from 5 gpm up to 300 gpm accurately. The HI8000 series controller included with the system has 10 programs that allow the user to set various EC and pH values for a variety of plants. The system also controls up to 32 irrigation valves.     Controlling Growth Ball Seed and SePRO: For the spring 2007 season, SePRO’s plant growth regulator, A-Rest, will be available as a seed treatment on selected bedding plants in the United States exclusively through Ball Seed […]

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June 23, 2008

Complete Control

    •  Bartlett Instrument Company’s RWL model is designed for natural ventilation houses and features a new algorithm to tighten temperature control while minimizing roof motion. The roof inches open in response to rising temperature, allowing an open roof without waiting for a large temperature swing. The natural ventilation controllers still feature DIF, day and night temperature settings as well as two heat, two vent, alarm and timer/mister outputs.               •  Dutch controls powerhouse Hoogendoorn Automation has begun offering its arsenal of controllers to the U.S. market, including the Economic computer, the Enviro controller and Growlab sensors for tight control of crop conditions.             •  With six stages (including two for natural ventilation), greenhouse temperature and relative humidity level can be controlled with the TC7 controller, manufactured by Harnois Industries.             •  From […]

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June 23, 2008

New Product Shorts

    Thermal Efficiency  Sterling HVAC Products: The Shield is a stainless steel, tubular, gas-fired unit heater, ideal for greenhouse applications. Shield unit heaters provide safe, efficient and economical natural gas or propane heating for commercial greenhouse growers, with a tubular heat exchanger constructed of heavy-duty, 20-gauge, stainless steel for maximum protection against moisture and rust. The durable, tubular heat exchanger ensures efficient and uniform heat transfer and longer service life. Direct spark ignition and power venting reduce standby losses and provide more than 80 percent thermal efficiency. Environmentally Responsible  Horticultural Identification Products: HIP recently introduced the Repel paper substrate for nursery tags. Repel contains 30 percent post-consumer waste, making it an environmentally responsible choice. The Repel product resists curling and fading when exposed to water and sunlight. Unlike the glossy, plastic tags commonly used in the industry, printing on Repel paper produces a soft, matte image. The natural look […]

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June 23, 2008

Get Ready For Runoff Regulation

You can ignore them, but they will not go away, and soon, denial will not be an option. Water regulations are a thing of the near future for greenhouse growers, with some states — California and Florida — already enforcing strict rules. The horticulture and floriculture industries are working together with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) toward regulating the amount of nitrates that are used in crop production with the goal of reducing runoff into groundwater. This is why it is ever-important for growers to start practicing fertilizer, water and runoff management now, before the impending regulations and penalties become a reality. With time to adapt growing operations before runoff management evolves from practice into law, becoming good stewards of the environment is a win-win situation, according to Ed Rosenthal, president and CEO of Florikan. Rosenthal has been working with growers for more than 20 years to advance nutrition programs […]

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June 23, 2008

Geothermal Growing

Heating greenhouses without natural gas is the goal of many growers. Corn, electricity and even some grasses are being used as alternatives, but one heating method being used by at least three greenhouse growers in the United States uses an renewable alternative energy source that results in no emissions — geothermal. Geothermal heating uses water that is heated naturally by hot rocks as a radiant heating source in the greenhouse. Several areas in the Western United States have geothermal rocks to draw this source from, and Alex R. Masson Inc.’s location in Radium Springs, N.M., is one of the companies taking advantage of this clean heat. In the 1980s, exploration was going on all around the American west for sources of geothermal heat, but many were looking for a source that could heat water to 299ËšF or more, hot enough to generate electricity. That type of heat wasn’t found and much […]

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June 23, 2008

Vision Of The Future

An increasing number of high-quality, large-volume marketing programs require pots that have an attractive look at the point of sale, standardized volumes according to the weights and measures rules and are excellent growing containers, as well as being affordable. Poppelmann Plastics has created a product line that would fill the niche — the TEKUVISION line. “We believe that our TEKUVISION line is the optimum answer to these requirements and will set the standard for these programs in the market,” says Poppelmann’s Jack Shelton. What makes the TEKUVISION different from other TEKU pots, says Shelton, is that TEKUVISION is printed completely from the top to the bottom, where traditional pots generally have an unprinted shoulder. TEKUVISION pots have a special shiny surface, too, and they’re printed with a photo-quality offset print, which is the highest available print quality on the market. Also, the TEKUVISION program has standardized volumes to comply with the […]

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