9 Presentations You Won’t Want to Miss at the Production Technology Conference

AmericanHort’s Production Technology ConferenceDrone at Woodburn Nursery will pack quite a bit of knowledge into two days when attendees converge on Dallas, TX, in October. Here’s a look at a few can’t-miss presentations, along with information on a pre-conference tour that allows you to see technology in action.

20 Tech Trends in 20 Minutes

Greenhouse Grower TECHNOLOGY Editor Brian Sparks highlights the major technology trends shaping the greenhouse industry, including data from Greenhouse Grower’s State of the Industry and Top 100 Growers surveys, as well as input from growers and industry suppliers from across the country.

Forecast and Replenishment Systems at Calloway’s Nursery

Calloway’s has the ability to order for each of its stores based off the store’s specific sales history, analyze data for the last several years to plan the next six months, and track every dollar and potted plant in its inventory. Rebecca Weller, the Corporate Bedding Plant Buyer for Calloway’s, will show how they do it.

Tune in to Your Plants with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)

RFID is a promising technology for the green industry, but there are limitations to its use in greenhouse and nursery production. Tom Fernandez, a Professor in the Department of Horticulture at Michigan State University, has used several types of RFID labels to track plants in greenhouse, nursery, and retail operations. RFID has worked very well in some situations, but poorly in others. He’ll discuss the results and future possibilities of RFID.

Who Says I Need a License to Fly My Drone?

This session from Mengmeng Gu of Texas A&M University and Jim Robbins of the University of Arkansas will highlight preparing for and taking the Remote Pilot Certification exam and liability issues.

Fine-Tuning Your Heating and Cooling System

There are many moving parts in any greenhouse, and learning the ins and outs of cooling systems or how you can ventilate your greenhouse naturally will help you keep those systems in good working order. Tom Manning of the Department of Plant Biology and Pathology at Rutgers University suggests several things to keep in mind when setting up your cooling and ventilation systems.

Technology in Action Tour

The educational sessions and trade show for the Production Technology Conference in Dallas, TX, begin on Tuesday, October 10. However, on Monday, October 9, attendees have a chance to see technology in action at some of the premier businesses in the industry. Learn how the same technology can be applied in different ways for results that match individual business goals and needs.

The Technology in Action Tour includes stops at:
• Seville Farms
• Southwest Wholesale Nursery
• Hort Americas

Direct-Fired Heating Systems

The direct-fired heater (DFH) system has the potential to provide high heating efficiency in the greenhouse. A DFH works by discharging all combustion products directly into a greenhouse. DFHs do not lose efficiency due to energy transfer through heat exchangers, and some DFHs claim nearly 100% heating efficiency. Peter Ling, an Associate Professor at The Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, will highlight the latest research in this area.

Drones Workshop: Now That I Have a Drone, What Do I Do With It?

This afternoon-long workshop, presented by Mengmeng Gu of Texas A&M University and Jim Robbins of the University of Arkansas, will cover types of aircraft, sensors, a workflow for processing images, and how we can use unmanned aircraft systems in horticulture production.

Is a One-Size-Fits-All Irrigation System Drowning Your Profits?

Amy Fulcher, Extension Specialist and Associate Professor at the University of Tennessee, will help you learn how much water your plants actually need, why grouping plants isn’t as simple as it seems, and how to maximize the use of technology to deliver the amount of water your plants need when they need it. The practical use of monitoring control stations, as well as technical aspects to substrate and soil moisture sensors such as placement, number of sensors, and interpreting and responding to measurements, will be covered.

Sensing the Future of Spray Technology

Technological advancements led by the USDA Agricultural Research Service have made it possible to re-envision sprayers and create much more precise, safe, and efficient spraying systems. Amy Fulcher will discuss how laser-guided sprayers have the potential to revolutionize pest management by dramatically reducing pesticide costs and worker exposure, and limiting drift. Trials of prototype intelligent sprayers and traditional sprayers retrofitted with laser-sensing systems will be featured. Learn how laser-guided sprayers can accurately apply pesticides only to the intended plants.

Greenhouse Grower TECHNOLOGY is AmericanHort’s media partner on the Production Technology Conference.

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