April 22, 2013

Rough Brothers Adds Two Product Lines

In the past year, Rough Brothers Greenhouses, a high-end structures supplier, has broadened its product offerings through acquisition, purchasing the assets of both X.S. Smith and Golden Pacific Structures. The strategy serves a couple of purposes for the company, says Commercial Manager Tom Vezdos. “We wanted to be able to cover the U.S. with sales reps. Now we’re able to cover the southern parts of the country we were never able to effectively get to before,” he says. “And we want to be able to provide a structure to everybody in the greenhouse business.” X.S. Smith and Golden Pacific traditionally offered lighter, less expensive greenhouse structures, so adding these product lines gave Rough a more complete spectrum of offerings. “Somebody might just want a Quonset, or they may want a poly arch or an A frame. On the higher end, someone may want a Venlo or an open-roof structure. Quite […]

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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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April 5, 2013

Greenhouse Retrofits And New Builds: Planning Tips

Here are some tips to help you with planning an expansion, reducing operating costs, or improving efficiency. The first step is to know what you want to accomplish. If operation labor reduction is the key motivator behind a retrofit project, then you need to look at how the greenhouse is affecting your labor. The best value for retrofitting will be different than if increasing crop yield is your main goal. Greenhouse Retrofits For Increasing Worker Productivity • Replace stationary benches with rolling benches. In an effort to pack as much production as possible inside the greenhouse, many greenhouse growers leave virtually no space to walk between the crop. With rolling benches, you only need one aisle per house, so you may increase the width of your production aisles without losing any crop production. This enables workers to move more efficiently between the benches. Typically, rolling benches can also offer the […]

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March 18, 2013

Growing Greenhouse Vegetables: Timing The Gaps

For ornamental growers looking for a new product for the gap seasons between traditional crops, vegetables can make a lot of sense. Many of the necessary structures, equipment and techniques are familiar. But there is plenty to learn as well, from nutrition to irrigation strategies to variety selection — a lot of which revolves around timing. We talked with Paul Gallione of Johnny’s Selected Seeds to learn more about the steps he recommends for growers getting started in vegetable production. GG: A lot of the details for adding a crop like vegetables are obviously going to vary for every grower and his own situation. How does timing impact these decisions? Gallione: There’s more to it than just saying, “OK, I’m an ornamental grower and my greenhouse is empty and I’m going to grow vegetables.” Don’t get me wrong — there’s probably a lot of equipment, labor and infrastructure that can be utilized for […]

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March 11, 2013

Greenhouse Equipment And Automation For Every Size Operation

Check out new equipment and automation products designed to make greenhouse operation easier and more efficient.

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March 6, 2013

GGS Structures Expands And Hires, Reflecting Increasing Structures Needs

GGS Structures Inc. is in the process of expanding its office headquarters and hiring additional key personnel as a result of increased North American and international business. A few weeks ago, GGS began a major renovation, which included adding office space to their headquarters in Vineland Station, Ont. “We have expanded our drafting and design department in order to satisfy the growing need for specialty institutional greenhouses as well as commercial growers looking for turnkey greenhouse project management solutions” says Leigh Coulter, president of GGS. “We have also hired an experienced business development manager to focus on emerging opportunities.” The expansion is expected to be completed by April, with the additional team members moving into the new space shortly thereafter. “With the ability to plan, design and execute full turnkey commercial greenhouse projects, and the increased interest in these projects worldwide, we are confident that this expansion will result in […]

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March 5, 2013

How To Automate A Greenhouse At Any Size

Like other business owners who are constantly working to improve their companies, growers are looking for ways to lower their costs and become more efficient. Automation is one way they can do this. Here are some recent upgrades to equipment that have applications for all growers. Pot Filling Made EZ Mitchell Ellis at Mitchell Ellis Products Inc., in Semmes, Ala., is eager to talk about the company’s EZ Potter potting machine. Part of that enthusiasm is due to the fact that the EZ Potter system, which was introduced last year, is unlike any other potting machine on the market. Because Ellis thinks the machine is so unique, the company has filed a patent application. For example, EZ Potter is the first potting machine equipped with an indexing conveyor belt. “If a grower wants to plant up to 7-gallon containers, there are two rails to adjust as the pots are placed […]

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February 22, 2013

Common Objections To Mechanization In The Greenhouse

The first thing I would say about automation is start somewhere. Even if you go with any type of sprinkler or overhead irrigation system that is stationary and not a boom system, start somewhere. Get your feet wet. Get comfortable with the fact that you are starting to rely more on machines and not people. One of the biggest hurdles we have is with small and medium size growers. They will say, “It’s going to make my growers lazy.” My response to that is, “At the end of the day, that’s a management problem. That’s not an equipment problem.” What you need to worry about when you get new machinery is making sure everyone understands why you are buying machinery. If the boom systems or any automated overhead irrigation systems are making your growers lazy, that’s not because of the grower. That’s because the grower is worried about his job. […]

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February 22, 2013

Primerus Products Acquires The SPOT-SPITTER From John Deere Water

On Feb. 1, 2013 Primerus Products, LLC, a startup company founded by veteran irrigation industry expert Jack Butler, acquired the SPOT-SPITTER product line. Butler has been a leader within Roberts Irrigation and John Deere Water for nearly 20 years where he played an important role in bringing the SPOT-SPITTER to its current market position. “Primerus Products is able to continue the high level of manufacturing quality provided by Roberts and Deere, while providing the core focus on nursery irrigation applications that is necessary to help its growers and dealers succeed,” Butler says. The SPOT-SPITTER nursery sprayer is the original spray stake invented by and by Jim Roberts, who founded Roberts Irrigation Products, Inc., in 1968. A product ahead of its time, it set a new standard for precision spray irrigation and quickly became accepted in nursery and greenhouse applications across North America. While there have since been imitations developed by […]

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