Hort Americas Corporate Newsletter | December 2015
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 optimum temperature, oxygen and beneficial microbe levels are integral in hydroponic systems
Maintaining the proper soluble salts (electrical conductivity) level and pH are critical in hydroponic systems like nutrient film technique and floating rafts. While monitoring these properties are important, growers should not overlook the importance that temperature, oxygen level and microbial activity play in the growth of plants in these production systems.
“It’s not as much about maintaining root health as it is about managing the conditions in the rhizosphere, which is the region around the plant roots,” said Rosa Raudales, assistant professor of horticulture and greenhouse extension specialist at the University of Connecticut. “The area around the roots undergoes a lot of biological and chemical activity. Microorganisms in the rhizosphere feed on the exudate of the roots. Managing the rhizosphere and the conditions in the nutrient solution are critical to maintaining plant health.”
The simply designed Berg Easykit pipe rail trolley, available from Hort Americas, is an innovative model at an exceptional price. The trolley’s lightweight and spacious platform is manually adjustable, easily maintained and a safe place to work.
The trolley is easy to maneuver on rails or concrete paths. Its reliable control box lets the user move forward or backwards. An optional tilt sensor alerts its user when the pipe rail system or path is not level.
The trolley’s chain drive system and electric motor enable it to travel at a speed of 40 meters per minute (131 feet per minute). Its control switches and foot pedal make the trolley easy to control. Wheels are adjustable from 42.5 to 80 centimeters (16.7 to 31.5 inches).
The trolley is also collapsible for easy storage. Assembly time is about 1 hour.
2014 USDA horticultural specialties census finds 71% increase in protected food crop producers
USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service has released the 2014 Census of Horticultural Specialties report, which shows that horticulture operations sold a total of $13.8 billion in floriculture, nursery and specialty crops in 2014, up 18 percent since 2009. The number of horticulture operations in the United States increased 8 percent during this time to 23,221.
Horticulture production was concentrated in 10 states which accounted for 65 percent of all U.S. horticulture sales in 2014. California ($2.9 billion), Florida ($1.8 billion) and Oregon ($932 million) led the nation in sales.
Food crops grown under cover gained the most in number of operations engaged in this production, an increase of 71 percent to 2,521. Although protected food crops did not account for the largest amount of sales, its $797 million in sales was the biggest increase (up 44 percent) from 2009 sales. Nursery stock, which accounted for $4.3 billion in sales was the top horticulture commodity, up 11 percent from 2009.
Family- or individually-owned businesses made up the largest number of operations, accounting for 53 percent. However, corporate-owned companies accounted for 76 percent of sales ($10.5 billion).
Total industry expenses were up 16 percent since 2009, with labor being the largest cost, accounting for 37 percent of total expenses in 2014.