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. Two Ways To Provide Shade In A Greenhouse   There are two primary options for providing shade: shading compound or whitewash; or shade curtains or shade cloth. Each of these options has distinct advantages and disadvantages, which warrant consideration when deciding how to reduce light and temperature in the greenhouse. Shade compound, or white wash, is a […]

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June 5, 2013

Natural Ventilation And Fog Increase Cooling Efficiency

For greenhouse ventilation, two main methods are used — mechanical and natural. Mechanical ventilation includes fan-and-pad systems, which are a type of evaporative cooling system. Fan-and-pad systems cool air by passing outside air through a wet pad, lowering the temperature and humidifying the greenhouse. This type of system works best in hotter, drier climates, because the capacity for cooling with a fan-and-pad system is very limited in humid climates. University of Arizona associate professor Murat Kacira says a drawback of using a fan-and-pad type system is that it requires a lot of energy and water. “Water is needed for the pad system, and energy is needed to run the pump for water circulation over the pad as well as the energy to run the exhaust fans,” Kacira says. “Water is a precious resource with limited availability, especially in arid and semi-arid regions. “Another issue is there can be a temperature […]

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June 4, 2013

10 Snow-Related Causes Of Greenhouse Failure

John Bartok Jr., an agricultural engineer and University of Connecticut Professor Emeritus, says snow varies considerably in consistency and weight. It can be light and fluffy with a water equivalent of 12 inches equal to 1 inch of rain. Snow can also be wet and heavy with 3 to 4 inches equal to 1 inch of rain. Snow having a 1-inch rainwater equivalent loads a structure with 5.2 pounds per square foot. This amounts to about 6.5 tons on a 25- by 96-foot greenhouse. Bartok says there are several reasons for structure failures during snow storms. 1. Drifting Snow: In nor’easter storms, adjacent greenhouses or bays of gutter-connected houses that have a north-south ridge orientation tend to collect more snow on the leeward side. Snow that is lifted over the ridge of the first house can be dumped on the windward side of the second house. This creates an off-center […]

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June 3, 2013

Boost Greenhouse Productivity Using Manufacturing Systems

Manufacturing and wholesale growing have a lot in common. Agriculture is a unique industry. It takes a devoted person who is prepared to work long hours, often for little pay. The reward is often the lifestyle, and the satisfaction of transforming a seed into a beautiful plant. Manufacturing also requires a devoted person, working long hours, often for little pay. At the end of the day, it is the satisfaction of building something new and helping our customers that keeps us going. Over the last decade, manufacturers have been bombarded with new efficiency systems: Six Sigma, Lean Manufacturing, Continuous improvement, Kanban, the 5S System, Kaizen, etc. This is especially true in North America where increased efficiencies are needed to compete against low-cost labor off shore. But interestingly enough, these systems do not often get considered by the wholesale greenhouse grower. So here are five ideas borrowed from manufacturing that can […]

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June 3, 2013

Why Greenhouse Under-Gutter Height Matters

I don’t think there are many greenhouse manufacturers still left in the Dark Ages of “keep your greenhouse low or your heat costs will rise,” but if you do come across one, run for your plant life! Here are some reasons to consider building higher. 1. Taller houses cast less shadow on your crop.I was not being facetious when I used the term the Dark Ages to describe the period of 7- to 9-foot-tall greenhouses. The modern commercial greenhouse standard height in North America is 16 feet for floral crops and 21 feet to 24 feet for vine climbing produce, but don’t quote me for too long on that one. Builders continue to raise their roofs with every build. Taller greenhouses allow you to produce more crop in the same footprint. They can accommodate double-hung and even triple-hung hanging baskets, while still providing a healthy environment for the plants at […]

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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 21, 2013

Innovative Flood Floor Allows Fine-tuning of Irrigation

Caviccio’s Greenhouse in Sudbury, Mass., is the first in the U.S. to install a slightly pitched greenhouse flood floor. Glenn Harrison of Caviccio’s talks about the advantages of the new floor and why they may install another one.

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May 20, 2013

Greenhouse Energy Assessments And Energy Audits: 7 Things You Should Know

Many growers understand that managing energy costs is critical to ensuring long-term success for their operations. Thankfully, there are a number of proven technological advancements that can help manage these costs. Condensing boilers, more efficient heating delivery systems, energy curtains, lighting improvements and other approaches have been widely embraced as a means of reducing overall energy usage. However, when it comes to determining how much of an effect these technologies will have, growers must usually rely on what vendors tell them, or talk with other growers and see what their results have been. This is where an energy audit or assessment can prove extremely useful. Below are seven things you should know when considering whether to have an energy audit or assessment conducted at your facility. 1. Energy audits and energy assessments are not one and the same. Generally speaking, energy assessments are a less rigorous version of an energy […]

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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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May 13, 2013

Green City Growers Is Largest Urban Food Co-op In U.S.

Take a look at a unique employee-owned cooperative that grows lettuce and other greens for local food services, restaurants and grocery stores with plans to do more.

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