September 17, 2013

LEDs Reduce Costs For Greenhouse Tomato Growers According To Purdue Study

Tomatoes grown around LED lights in the winter can significantly reduce greenhouse energy costs without sacrificing yield, according to a Purdue University study. Cary Mitchell, a professor of horticulture, said the average tomato is shipped about 1,500 miles from warmer climates where they’re grown to cooler climates that cannot produce the fruit cost-effectively in the winter. That journey is costly, however, because tomatoes are picked green and ripen during shipping, decreasing quality and flavor. The lengthy shipping distance also adds to the industry’s carbon footprint. “It makes it really hard for the greenhouse industry to grow tomatoes well in the offseason. We’re trying to change that and make it affordable,” Mitchell said. Energy costs drive up prices for producers who might want to grow tomatoes in greenhouses in states that have winters inhospitable to growing food. Greenhouses must be heated, and shorter, overcast days require costly lighting. Mitchell and doctoral […]

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September 16, 2013

4 New Irrigation Products

Delta T Solutions Flood Floors Delta T Solutions sub-irrigation systems can be customized to fit growers’ needs. Water is recycled and filtered to reduce disease instances. Sub-irrigation provides even watering and fertilizer distribution, resulting in uniform crops. Flood floors are highly compatible with in-floor heating systems, which quickly dry remaining water for disease control. DeltaTSolutions.com

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September 12, 2013

Irrigating Crops On Demand

Automating greenhouse irrigation can be a huge labor saver, which is imperative for a modern greenhouse to be competitive. Irrigation controllers make it possible to automate greenhouse irrigation, but one usually programs the system to come on for a set time on a set schedule. Environmental conditions change such that a set program may be wrong more often than it is right. Sensing devices can be employed to aid a greenhouse operator making decisions about when to water, or one can take this a step further and let the substrate itself decide when it needs to be watered. Comparing On-Demand To Automated Irrigation Rather than have a set schedule programmed into a controller, it is possible to wire a moisture-sensing device, such as a tensiometer, between an electric valve and a source of electricity (transformer). When the moisture level in the substrate falls below a set-point, a switch on the […]

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Google Glass

August 13, 2013

Google Glass: How Will It Impact The Greenhouse Industry?

You may be asking, what is Google Glass? It’s Google’s latest attempt to free data from desktop computers, tablets and smartphones, and place it right in front of your eyes. It’s a wearable computer with a glass screen that allows you to access the web, record video as you see it, perform actions based on voice activation and display useful information about what you’re looking at. It looks futuristic, like something out of a sci-fi movie, but will soon be upon us and used for both entertainment and productivity. But why am I writing about this on a greenhouse site? Because it could very well change the way we do business. Apps are just now being created by third-party developers and will be similar to smartphone apps. The difference is you will be able to control these apps using voice commands and you’ll see information displayed in front of your […]

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July 11, 2013

GrowerLive Enterprise Software Can Be Used With Or Without Pay-By -Scan

If your standard, off-the-shelf accounting software program and Excel inventory sheets just aren’t cutting it anymore, maybe it’s time to look at a computer software program developed for commercial growers. Here are some software programs designed to handle the variables and intricacies that are unique to commercial growers’ businesses. The GrowerLive software program for growers was released by Innovative Technologies Group Inc. in 2007. The software program was developed for Rick Brown, owner of Riverview Flower Farm in Riverview, Fla., who produces annuals and perennials for The Home Depot. Since releasing the software the company has added additional growers, including citrus and sod producers. Most of the growers sell to big box stores, including Lowe’s, The Home Depot and Walmart. They also serve smaller retail chains and independents, including John Deere Landscapes, Meijer and Thrifty Mart. “GrowerLive is an inventory program and also a fulfillment-replenishment system for pay-by-scan,” says Innovative […]

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June 10, 2013

Keeping Cool With Greenhouse Shading

Shade is used to reduce the temperature and light inside a greenhouse. The radiant energy from the sun can easily build up inside of a greenhouse during the summer and increase temperatures beyond the desired range for many crops. Additionally, light levels in the summer regularly exceed the usable level by plants, and excess light may result in high-light damage. However, the use of shade cloth can often reduce the air temperature by up to 10°F (5°C) and light levels by up to 75 percent or greater, depending on the shade material used. Welcome to the first edition of a new monthly column: “The Basics and Beyond.” University researchers Brian Krug (University of New Hampshire), Roberto Lopez (Purdue University), Neil Mattson (Cornell University), Brian Whipker (North Carolina State University) and Christopher Currey (Iowa State University) will provide useful greenhouse production information spanning review and introductory concepts that will bring new […]

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May 28, 2013

Spectrum’s GreenIndex+ App Receives AE50 Gold Award From The American Society Of Agricultural And Biological Engineers

Spectrum Technologies, Inc. has been honored with the prestigious AE50 Gold Award from the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE). The AE50 awards recognize leadership in technological innovation, with the Gold Award highlighting the best of the best among new products. A manufacturer of weather stations, data loggers, and handheld measurement devices, Spectrum was recently recognized as a Gold Award winner for the FieldScout GreenIndex+. The GreenIndex+ provides a better, more affordable way to manage the nitrogen needs of crops. Taking advantage of the latest advancements in technology, the GreenIndex+ App conveniently captures and processes images from a smartphone and instantly computes the DGCI (Dark Green Color Index) of plant leaves. By offering a digital image analysis of the leaves, the GreenIndex+ provides growers with an accurate, low-cost method for managing in-season fertility and helps deliver improved yield, lower nitrogen costs, and increased profits. All data is logged […]

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May 28, 2013

Dramm Introduces A New Nozzle To The Horticulture Industry.

Dramm introduces a new plastic commercial fan nozzle with a corrosion-proof head that creates a precise and gentle water pattern that won’t harm delicate plants and seedlings. The new nozzle is made from high-impact plastic, easily attaches to any hose and hose attachment and is available in bright blue for visibility. See the spray pattern live at the OFA Short Course, Booth #2147. Dramm has been making professional watering tools for nurseries, greenhouse growers and avid gardeners for over 65 years. Dramm strives to produce products that save time and energy while providing quality products that will last a lifetime. For more product images and or further information please contact Jessica Reinhardt at (920) 684-0227 or jreinhardt@dramm.com. Or, visit us online at ww.dramm.com.  

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May 13, 2013

Conviron Positions for Growth with Acquisition of Argus Controls

Controlled Environments Ltd. (Conviron) has announced the acquisition of Argus Control Systems Ltd. (Argus) of White Rock, British Columbia. The acquisition brings together Conviron, the world leader in controlled environments for agricultural research, with Argus, the North American leaderin advanced automated control systems for greenhouses and other horticultural applications. The integrationwill provide researchers and growers with more flexibility and increasingly powerful tools, and in so doing drivegrowth for both organizations in the plant science and biotechnology sectors. “Argus is well‐known in North America for its innovative and robust control systems,” said Steve Kroft, president and CEO at Conviron. “With the Argus platform, we have extended our capability to offer sophisticated pre‐engineered and customized control solutions that meet the increasingly demanding research applications and facility managementrequirements of our clients.” For decades, Conviron plant growth chambers and rooms have been chosen by many of the same leadingagricultural research centers that have used […]

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April 22, 2013

Diffuse Lighting Offers Multiple Benefits

Growers are increasingly learning that steering the greenhouse climate, which includes the related factors of light levels, temperature and humidity, can yield big gains in terms of plant quality and productivity as well as economic efficiency in heating and cooling expenses. Researchers, meanwhile, have been demonstrating that diffuse light plays an important role in achieving those goals. Materials have been developed to diffuse direct solar radiation, and use of diffuse light begins with an understanding of light and its behavior. Solar RadiationSolar radiation passes through the top of the atmosphere essentially unchanged by its passage through space. As it moves, it interacts with gas molecules, water droplets and aerosols and is gradually absorbed into the atmosphere. Radiant energy is converted into internal energy. It ceases to exist as radiant energy and heats the atmosphere directly. Very little of this absorption happens in visible wavelengths. Rather, ozone absorbs most of the […]

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April 19, 2013

DLICALC Online Tool Helps Growers Caculate Daily Light Integral

Managing all the different environmental and cultural aspects of greenhouse crop production can be an intimidating and daunting task, especially during the peak production season. But it’s necessary to produce a high-quality, salable plant. The greenhouse is full of moving targets, from root zone pH and EC to plant growth, air temperature and light. Managing each of the parameters of greenhouse crop production to consistently produce quality crops on time can be a challenge. Thankfully, the development of decision-support tools can aid greenhouse growers. GROCALC is a suite of electronic grower decision support tools that include ALKCALC, FERTCALC and PGRCALC. These programs are useful for making calculations related to greenhouse crop culture including water acidification requirements, fertilizer solution and plant growth regulator (PGR) mixing. However, there are few or no tools available to help make calculations related to the greenhouse light environment. Although light is frequently discussed in terms of […]

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April 19, 2013

Greenhouse Covering Released To USA After 29 Years of Success in Europe

Polydress SolaWrap has been successfully used in greenhouses in Europe for three decades and is now being introduced to America. SolaWrap’s unique qualities have led to reported tomato crop advancement in the Mediterranean of three weeks, in the wintertime, in an unheated greenhouse compared to standard greenhouse coverings. Its durability was tested in the extreme heat of Kuwait for a period of 25 years until the outbreak of war destroyed the testing facility. In that 25-year period, the original SolaWrap covering withstood the elements and remained effective. It did not yellow or become brittle or streak. In the converse climate of Manitoba, Canada, where temperatures drop well below freezing, a trial has been in process for more than five years. The results are very promising. Strawberries are growing in this SolaWrap greenhouse in January, and the only heating occurs at night during the dead of winter. However, the greatest test […]

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