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Author Archive | David Kuack

Kellie Walters, a PhD graduate research assistant at Michigan State University, is conducting a hydroponics industry survey to see where she can make the biggest impact with her research.

Industry survey seeks information on hydroponic food production

Researchers at Michigan State and Iowa State Universities are looking for feedback from hydroponic food growers to help them determine where research is needed to benefit the industry. If you are doing hydroponic food production or thinking about doing this type of production, your input is needed. Controlled-environment agriculture (CEA) production researchers Roberto Lopez and […]

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Photo 1b, untitled7, Photo courtesy of Tyler Baras RESIZE

Organic vs. traditional hydroponic production: the top 3 differences

When it comes to changing from conventional to organic hydroponic production methods, there are three main areas that growers find most challenging. Tyler Baras, special projects manager at Hort Americas in Bedford, Texas, said growers are increasingly inquiring about organic hydroponic production. Baras is running hydroponic production trials comparing organic and conventional production methods in […]

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Elizabeth Lamb, ornamental IPM coordinator at NYS IPM Program, worked with GORGES Inc. to develop the Greenhouse Scout app.
Photos courtesy of NYS IPM Program

Looking for a better, easier way to do greenhouse IPM?

Greenhouse Scout is an integrated pest management app that makes it easier to collect, store and analyze scouting data along with identifying insect pests and which beneficials can be used to control them. Most greenhouse growers know the benefits of scouting their crops for pest insects and mites. Scouting can help to identify and minimize […]

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P.L. Light Systems’ HortiLED series of grow lights meets the requirements of controlled environment agriculture

Whether greenhouse, vertical farm or warehouse growers are propagating or producing ornamental, vegetable or cannabis crops, P.L. Light Systems offers the LED fixtures to meet their lighting needs. P.L. Light Systems develops and manufactures supplemental lighting systems for the horticultural industry. The nearly 40-year-old company manufactures traditional light sources, including high pressure sodium (HPS) and […]

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Grodan rockwool substrates offer growers more control

Grodan stone wool products offer the benefits of high irrigation efficiency, plant steerability and uniform crop development. Grodan stone wool substrates are made from basalt rock that is processed at a very high temperature (over 2,900ºF). This hygienic, inert substrate offers vegetable and ornamental plant growers the opportunity to control growth from propagation to harvest. […]

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tyler-substrates-roots

Substrate trials look to assist hydroponic growers avoid propagation-related issues

Substrate trials in Hort Americas’ research greenhouse are looking at conventional and organic propagation substrates along with different irrigation strategies for producing healthy starter plugs for hydroponic production systems. Hort Americas has retrofitted a 12,000-square-foot greenhouse in Dallas, Texas, for the purpose of studying edible crop production in a variety of hydroponic production systems. The […]

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Tyler Baras, special projects manager at Hort Americas, is overseeing the trialing of leafy greens and herbs in different production systems, including deep water culture and nutrient film technique.
Photos courtesy of Tyler Baras, Hort Americas

Fertilizer trials look at leafy greens, herb growth in hydroponic production systems

Early results from fertilizer trials in Hort Americas’ research greenhouse show knowing the levels of nutrients in fertilizer solutions can go a long way in avoiding problems with deficiencies and toxicities. Hort Americas has retrofitted a 12,000-square-foot greenhouse in Dallas, Texas, for the purpose of studying edible crop production in a variety of hydroponic production […]

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Hort Americas retrofits greenhouse for trialing hydroponic growing systems, products

Hort Americas’ special projects manager Tyler Baras is using a 12,000-square-foot hydroponic greenhouse to teach company staff and customers what it takes to economically grow leafy greens and herbs. Tyler Baras is a well-traveled grower. He has worked in Florida and Colorado growing hydroponic greenhouse vegetables, including organic crops. He is now taking the knowledge […]

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LEDs offer option for photoperiodic control

Research at Michigan State University shows growers have a choice when it comes to lights for photoperiodic control. As light bulb manufacturers phase out the production of incandescent bulbs, growers are looking for replacements to control flowering of ornamental plants. Researchers at Michigan State University have compared the efficiency and efficacy of LEDs for flowering […]

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Monitoring is crucial for growing lettuce and leafy greens year round

Since lettuce and leafy greens have short production cycles, greenhouse growers need to stay focused if they want to be successful growing these crops year round. The increasing demand for locally-grown vegetables is causing more field vegetable growers, ornamental plant growers and new growers to look at trying to satisfy this market. Cornell University horticulture […]

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Taking LEDs to the next level

McGill University bioresource engineer Mark Lefsrud said it’s time to take plant research and production to a higher level with LEDs. Much of the research that has been done with LEDs for the last 50 years has been conducted with low light levels. “The biggest research area right now is with LEDs at high intensities […]

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Kevin Folta University of Florida

Are you using social media to promote your brand, your industry?

Kevin Folta, chairman of the Horticultural Sciences Department at the University of Florida, said more researchers, farmers and students need to be using social media to promote themselves, their research and their industries.   Kevin Folta, professor and chairman of the Horticultural Sciences Department at the University of Florida, has been writing online blogs since […]

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greenhouse

Direct-to-consumer food sales could help growers succeed

A study of data collected in the 2007 and 2012 Census of Agriculture shows that direct-to-consumer sales could help growers remain in business longer. In January 2015 a group of economists at the USDA-Economic Research Service released the publication “Trends in U.S. Local and Regional Food Systems: A Report to Congress”. The purpose of the […]

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exotic-peppers-rutgers-university

Meeting the demand for locally grown ethnic produce

Rutgers University researchers are studying the viability of growing ethnic specialty crops in greenhouses and hoop houses for local and regional sales. While consumer demand for organic products continues to increase so does the demand for locally grown produce. USDA reports that industry data estimates that U.S. local food sales totaled at least $12 billion in 2014, […]

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Hydroponic growers can avoid issues with soil-borne diseases, soil-hosted insects, poor soil drainage and aeration.
Photo courtesy of American Hydroponics

Can hydroponics be organic?

Regardless of whether you think hydroponic production can be organic, the bottom line is all methods of food production should be considered when trying to feed a growing world population. There is currently much discussion and debate occurring about whether hydroponic production can be labeled as organic. In September 2015 the USDA’s National Organic Program […]

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GAP-audited growers should have an easier time complying with food safety rules

Greenhouse and controlled environment agriculture growers who are participating in USDA’s GAP program are expected to have an easier time meeting Food Safety Modernization Act rules.   The burden of proving a grower is exempt from the Food and Drug Administration’s Food Safety Modernization Act’s rule falls squarely on the shoulders of the growers. Phil Tocco, food safety educator […]

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Steve Newman, who is Colorado State’s greenhouse crops extension specialist and professor of 

floriculture, said the new horticulture center will be used for research, teaching and training.

Colorado State University’s new horticulture center will focus on research with LEDs

An agreement between Colorado State University and Philips Lighting to equip its new 27,000-square-foot horticulture center with LEDs will put the focus on using the lights for improving ornamental and vegetable plant production. When officials at Colorado State University went looking for property to build a new football stadium they didn’t have to look far. They decided […]

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Hydroponic floating raft lettuce

Maintaining the optimum temperature, oxygen and beneficial microbe levels are integral in hydroponic systems

While providing the proper soluble salts and pH levels are important in hydroponic systems, don’t overlook the significance of maintaining the optimum temperature, oxygen concentration and microbe level in the nutrient solution. Maintaining the proper soluble salts (electrical conductivity) level and pH are critical in hydroponic systems like nutrient film technique and floating rafts. While […]

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Food Safety Modernization Act

Food Safety Modernization Act could impact growers exempt from the new federal rules

Although greenhouse and controlled environment agriculture growers may be exempt from implementing Food Safety Modernization Act rules, produce buyers may make compliance mandatory. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 48 million people are sickened each year by foodborne pathogens. Of those people about 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die each year. On Nov. 13, […]

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Bacterial Canker

Producers of greenhouse food crops can’t be sloppy growers

Growers can reduce the chance of disease infestation on greenhouse vegetable crops by incorporating a strict sanitation program and minimizing plant exposure to moisture. Sanitation and moisture management are key factors in controlling diseases on greenhouse food crops, said Michigan State University plant pathologist Mary Hausbeck. “Preventing greenhouse diseases starts with sanitation,” she said. “I […]

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