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AmericanHort technology tour to visit Hort Americas hydroponic research greenhouse

Tour of Hort Americas research and demonstration greenhouse in Dallas will show growers different hydroponic production systems for various vegetable crops.

Growers of hydroponic vegetables or those considering starting growing vegetables hydroponically should plan on attending the AmericanHort Production Technology Conference. Scheduled for Oct. 9-11 in Dallas, the conference begins with a Technology in Action Tour on Oct. 9 which will visit three local production operations: Hort Americas research and demonstration greenhouse, Seville Farms and Southwest Nursery.

 

All things hydroponic

Hort Americas, a horticulture and agriculture wholesale supply company, has retrofitted a 12,000-square-foot floriculture greenhouse for the hydroponic production of vegetable crops. Tyler Baras, who is the special projects manager at Hort Americas, is overseeing the trialing of five different production systems along with the testing of potential products for the company’s online catalog. The production systems include: nutrient film technique (NFT), deep water culture floating raft, a vertical hydroponic tower system, a flood-and-drain vertical rack system and a new capillary mat manufactured in Europe. The greenhouse is being used to grow a wide variety of lettuces, leafy greens, herbs and microgreens.

During the AmericanHort Technology in Action Tour on Oct. 9, Tyler Baras, special projects manager at Hort Americas, will be talking about the five different hydroponic production systems he is trialing.
Photos courtesy of Tyler Baras

The NFT system uses a new channel design. Baras said the narrower channels allow for the aging of crops without having to physically move plants from nursery channels to finishing channels.

Hort America’s main floating raft deep water system is an in-house custom design that measures 32-feet by 28-feet.

“We have tried using a Venturi system to incorporate oxygen, but for the last two months we have been doing trials with compressed liquid oxygen,” Baras said. “We have been doing trials to see how plants respond to increased levels of dissolved oxygen. This deep water system hasn’t been flushed in over a year.

“We have been managing the nutrient solution with water tests and individual salts. Instead of using a standard N-P-K fertilizer like we have been using in the other production systems, we have really focused on water tests and making nutrient adjustments based on those tests. We have been trying to keep the nutrients within a target range and trying to run the system for as long as possible without having to flush any of the nutrient system. We are testing for all of the essential nutrients. We are also looking at sodium chloride levels and seeing how those accumulate. Also, we are tracking what essential nutrients accumulate over time and how we can adjust the fertilizer being added to accommodate the natural accumulation in the system.”

In addition to trialing crops in different hydroponic production systems, Tyler Baras is also studying a variety of crops grown with conventional and organic substrates and fertilizers.

 

Baras is also studying how the water source can contribute to the nutrient level.

“We are considering how source water may be a limitation to applying this no-flush technique,” he said. “Our source water is municipal water, but it has a high sulfur content of about 44 parts per million. So we are looking at cutting out all sulfur inputs. We are learning the challenges of trying to manage a no flush system.”

In addition to the main deep water system, Baras said tour attendees will also see several smaller deep water culture systems.

“In these smaller deep water culture systems we will be showing the use of three different organic fertilizers where we are comparing the growth between them,” he said. “We will also be showing a smaller scale deep water culture system receiving aeration compared to one with no aeration.”

 

Vertical production systems

Another hydroponic system that Baras is working with is a vertical tower commonly used by smaller growers.

“We have a lot of customers who use this system so we decided to install one in the greenhouse so we could look at some of the issues that they are dealing with,” he said. “We also were looking to answer some of the questions that our customers had about using the system. An example is can this system be used to grow organically? We’ve done both organic and conventional trials with this system.

“We’ve also been looking at what crops perform best in this vertical system. We’ve done a lot of variety trials as well as with the other systems we’ve installed.”

Hort Americas is also trialing a vertical Growrack from Growtainer.

“This is a flood-and-drain vertical rack system,” Baras said. “The rack has three levels, but it could be expanded. The rack has a 2-foot by 5-foot footprint. We have equipped it with GE LED lights. This would be the type of system used in a vertical farm setup.”

Although the Growrack hydroponic system can be used to grow full size crops, Tyler Baras is using it primarily for seedling propagation.

Baras said the Growrack system, which is set up in the greenhouse, has done well in warm conditions because its water reservoir is below the rack.

“The reservoir is usually stored underneath the racks so it is in shade,” he said. “The water isn’t always in the trays so it doesn’t collect the heat from the trays. It works well in warm climates.”

Although Baras has grown full size crops in the Growrack, it is being used now primarily for seedling propagation.

“The focus of the system is how it has enabled us to cut back on the amount of space that is needed for propagation,” he said. “We can easily grow enough seedlings in this system for a 10,000-square foot greenhouse.

“The system is also being used by a Central Market store in Dallas to finish crops for its Growtainer farm. We helped consult on the management of the system and showed store officials how it could grow crops from start to finish in the same Growracks. The store is growing fully mature butterhead lettuce and basil in the system. This system can definitely work in indoor vertical farms.”

Baras said he has grown both organically and conventionally with the Growrack system.

“We have done organic seedling propagation in it,” he said. “We have used a variety of conventional and organics substrates and fertilizers with it.”

 

LED studies

In addition to trialing LED lights vs. natural light for greenhouse seedling propagation and crop staging, Baras said he is also looking at using LEDs supplemental light throughout the production of butterhead lettuce in the floating raft system.

“We are looking at how LED light affects leaf texture and plant morphology of butterhead lettuce,” he said. We are trying supplemental lighting during the summer. We are pulling shade so the light isn’t very intense. It appears that intense light can lead to tip burn that damages the plants leading to a poor quality crop. So we pull shade cloth and then run a prototype high-output LED grow light provided by GE for almost 20 hours. We deliver a low intensity of light over a longer period so we can provide the plants the light they need without stressing them. We are trying to improve the quality by adding LED light in order to produce more compact growth that is associated with LEDs.

“Under greenhouse shade cloth the lettuce leaves look fragile. We are trying to grow the lettuce to hit a certain weight. If the plants are grown under shade they look fairly large and floppy and the head doesn’t have the right density at its core. By using the LEDs we can produce the more traditional morphology where the plants have a dense core. The leaves aren’t floppy and the plants look more like traditional butterhead should look.”

 

Matching plants and production systems

Baras said he is trialing a wide range of crops in all of the production systems he is using.

“Primarily we are focused on lettuce and basil, but we are trialing a lot of varieties,” he said. “We definitely see some systems are capable of growing some varieties that other systems are not. We want to be able to recommend what varieties grow best in what systems. We are preparing a book based on our research that will include an entire section on strategies for how to use these production systems. We will provide example situations in the book discussing location, climate, market, what crops are being requested by that market and how to use that information to determine what production system is most appropriate.

“We are looking at primarily butterhead, romaine and oakleaf lettuce and 20 different basil varieties. We are also doing trials with arugula, spinach, cilantro, kale, chard, Asian greens and microgreens. We are doing an extensive study of herb varieties. There are also some unusual crops like stevia, wasabi arugula, celeriac and sorrel. We are determining all of these plants growth habits in the different production systems. This information will be in the book along with the details and nuances of growing each crop.”

A vertical hydroponic tower commonly used by smaller growers has been installed to answer some of the questions that Hort Americas customers have about using the system.

Based on the trial results, Baras said the book will provide details on each plant variety and its performance in each system.

“The book will provide information on the growth a grower should expect in different environments based on the amount of light and temperature,” he said. “The book will offer projected production numbers a grower should be able to reach. These will be realistic targets for each of the production systems we have studied.”

 


For more: Hort Americas, (469) 532-2383; http://hortamericas.com.

 

David Kuack is a freelance technical writer in Fort Worth, Texas; dkuack@gmail.com.

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Evaluating field-bred lettuce varieties for hydroponic greenhouse production

University of Arkansas researchers trialed 65 lettuce varieties to determine their potential for production in greenhouse hydroponic systems.

 

By David Kuack

 

An increasing number of greenhouse ornamental plant growers are looking to expand into edible crops. There are also field vegetable growers who would like to expand their production to include greenhouse crops.
Some of the easier and faster crops for growers to try to produce in a greenhouse are lettuce and other fresh greens.
One of the issues these growers are facing is what varieties of lettuce can be grown in a greenhouse environment. Much of the commercial lettuce breeding is focused on outdoor field production. Growers looking to expand their lettuce offerings beyond commonly produced greenhouse varieties usually have to do their own trials looking for field varieties that can be adapted to a greenhouse environment.

 

Need to expand greenhouse varieties
University of Arkansas horticulture professor Mike Evans said he is constantly receiving inquiries from growers about what lettuce varieties can be grown in greenhouses.
“At Cultivate’14 we surveyed growers who participated in one of the greenhouse vegetable seminars about their educational and research needs,” Evans said. “One of the growers’ responses was the need for variety information.
“If you look at seed catalogs, most of the information describing lettuce varieties is based on field production, not greenhouse. So if a grower wanted to grow lettuce hydroponically in a greenhouse during the winter there is little information available. If a grower wanted to use nutrient film technique or deep flow floating systems in a greenhouse, there’s basically very little information on how lettuce varieties would do in these production systems. Most of the production information is field-based.”
Evans said there is also a need for evaluating lettuce varieties for fall, winter and spring greenhouse production. He said these variety evaluations need to be done in different regions of the country to see how they perform under different climates.

 

Lettuce variety evaluations
University of Arkansas researchers selected 65 lettuce varieties for evaluation in greenhouse production systems. A nutrient film technique and deep flow floating system were used for the trials.
“Our goal with the variety trials was to generate better and more variety information and to determine which varieties would work best in climates similar to ours,” Evans said. “We especially wanted to be able to make variety recommendations across a production year. That is, varieties which work well in the fall, winter and spring.

“There are certain varieties that do well during winter. But as soon as the days start getting longer, the variety begins to bolt. Or a variety may do well in the fall and spring, but during the lowest light levels of winter, it has some type of production issue.”

Photo 1, IMG_1619, Mike Evans, Univ. of Ark.
University of Arkansas researchers selected 65
lettuce varieties for evaluation in greenhouse
production systems.
Photos courtesy of Mike Evans, Univ. of Ark.

 

Evans said the information that has been collected is for lettuce varieties that perform well in a glass greenhouse in Arkansas.
“These varieties may not respond the same way in Michigan, Arizona, Florida and Texas,” he said. “They also won’t respond the same way in locations where the light and humidity levels are different. These trials are probably good recommendations for growers in climates similar to ours.”
Lettuce varieties were planted from September through May. No crops were grown in June, July and August. Four crops were produced during the fall to spring cycle.
“Some growers try to grow during the summer months by chilling the nutrient solution,” Evans said. “We weren’t set up for summer production. Having trialed 65 varieties we will probably select 15 of the best performing varieties to evaluate for summer performance. For the summer evaluations we will have to use a different greenhouse set up in order to chill the nutrient solution.”

 

Measuring growth rate
Evans said one of major growth parameters measured was biomass production or growth rate.
“The quicker the plants grow, the shorter the production cycle,” Evans said. “Every day on the bench is cost to the grower. We looked at fresh weight and dry weight, two measures of growth.
“Some growers let lettuce grow for a specific amount of time. Other growers try to achieve a specific weight.”
Evans said the lettuce crops were grown on a 42-day production cycle in both the NFT and deep flow systems. At the end of the 42-day cycle the lettuce was harvested and measurements were taken.
“Sometimes if a variety is a fast grower, the lettuce might exceed the weight that a grower would want,” Evans said. “That tells us this variety could have been grown in a much shorter period of time. Or a variety that didn’t reach a minimum weight at the end of the 42-day cycle was considered a slow grower. Fresh and dry weights were used as a measure of how fast a variety can grow. How fast can a variety put on biomass? That is what growers are selling—biomass.”

 

Photo 2, IMG_1600, Mike Evans, Univ. of Ark. (1)
Lettuce varieties that did well in a nutrient film
technique system tended to do well in a deep
flow float system.

 

Evans said there were similarities in how varieties performed in the two production systems.
“If the varieties did poorly in NFT, they tended to perform similarly in deep flow too,” he said. “If a variety did well in NFT, odds were high that it did really well in deep flow.”

 

Identifying disorders
Evans said the two most common problems he hears about lettuce from growers are powdery mildew and tipburn.
“Ninety percent of the calls I receive are about these two problems,” he said. “We rated the lettuce varieties we trialed for tipburn and powdery mildew. Powdery mildew, in our region of the country, is the disease that can often give growers fits. It can really wallop a lettuce crop.  We also measured the incidence of tipburn, which can be a problem on a number of greens.”
Evans said semi-heading and heading (butterhead) types seem to be more prone to tipburn.

“What happens is that as these varieties start to form heads there is an area of high humidity,” he said. “There is this little microclimate of high humidity. If a grower is growing under real high humidity, has structures with poor air circulation or the nutrition levels aren’t right, a calcium deficiency can occur. These can create a tipburn problem. We saw much less tipburn on varieties that tend to be loose leaf types.

 

For more: Mike
Evans, University of Arkansas, Department of Horticulture, Fayetteville, AR
72701; (479) 575-3179 (voice); mrevans@uark.edu; http://hort.uark.edu/5459.php.

 

Top performing lettuce varieties
The following lettuce varieties did well in the four greenhouse production trials conducted at the University of Arkansas.

 

Butterhead types
Adriana
Deer Tongue
Nancy

Rex

Rex
Rex

 

 

Skyphos
Fancy leaf types
Black Hawk
Cavernet

Dark Red Lollo Rossa

Dark Red Lollo Rossa
Dark Red Lollo Rossa
New Red Fire
Outredgeous
Red Sails
Ruby Sky
Oak leaf types
Oscarde
Panissee
Rouxa

 

Panissee
Panissee

 

Romaine types
Green Forest
Red Rosie
Red Rosie
Red Rosie

 

Ridgeline
Salvius
Truchas

 

David Kuack is a freelance technical writer in Fort
Worth, Texas: dkuack@gmail.com.
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LEDs, fluorescent lights help Two Bros Hydro expand its business

Bob McVey and Ed Olanowski, owners of Two Bros Hydro, are
using LED and fluorescent lights, vertical farming and a new greenhouse to
expand their vegetable and fruit production.

By David Kuack

Two Bros Hydro in Milton, Del., is a young company
looking to expand. Owners Bob McVey and Ed Olanowski started their company in
August 2012, in the basement of Olanowski’s house. The two entrepreneurs set up
a nutrient-film technique (NFT) vertical farming system with four levels or
tiers consisting of 4-inch PVC pipe. Each tier grows 100 heads of lettuce. They
are currently using two tiers, one equipped with Philips GreenPower Production
Module Deep Red/Blue 120 and the other equipped with Sylvania 32-watt T-8
Daylight 4-foot fluorescent lights.

Ed
Olanowski (left) and Bob McVey at Two Bros Hydro have
set up a 4-tier vertical
farming system in the basement of
Olanowski’s house. They are currently using two tiers, one equipped
with LED modules and the other with 4-foot fluorescent
lights.
Photos courtesy of Two Bros Hydro.

“The vertical system that we are using is a tiered
system, four tiers on top of each other with lights in between them,” Olanowski
said. “It’s basically four NFT systems stacked on top of each other.”

The two have trialed different varieties of lettuce and
have narrowed the selection down to eight varieties. These same varieties will
be grown in a new greenhouse the two growers have built.

“The one restaurant we are selling to prefers mini-heads
of lettuce,” Olanowski said. “We can produce the mini-heads in the basement in
a relatively quick turnaround time.”

Expanding
production

The two growers are using A-frame NFT systems in their
new 600-square-foot greenhouse.

Ed
Olanowski (left) and Bob McVey have expanded their production
with a 600-square-foot
greenhouse in which they plan to grow
 strawberries, lettuce, herbs and other vegetable
and fruit crops.

“The greenhouse is relatively small, but we will be doing
vertical growing in that structure too,” McVey said. “We can grow 200 plants in
one A-frame. “We are currently growing strawberries in one A-frame, including
the varieties Ozark Beauties, Sparkle Supreme and Winona Giant. We are also
planning to grow some herbs, including thyme and cilantro, and lettuce in an
A-frame.”

Other crops being grown in the greenhouse include
raspberries, blueberries, several hot pepper varieties, bell peppers and three tomato
varieties. Only the lettuce and herbs are being grown in the A-frames. The
other crops will be produced in a recirculating deep water culture system. The
two growers are also considering adding an aquaponics system in the greenhouse,
which will include fish. They said the aquaponics system will enable them to
grow as organically as possible in the NFT systems, as well as producing fish
for future harvesting.

Ed
Olanowski and Bob McVey are growing several
crops, including strawberries, in
an A-frame NFT system.
They are considering expanding their greenhouse
production
with an aquaponics system that will include fish.


Olanoski said they will continue to grow the lettuce in
the basement of his house.

“We will continue to grow the lettuce in the basement
because we want to have that as a backup to what we produce in the greenhouse,”
he said. “The LED lights we are using in the basement are inexpensive to
operate so it makes sense to keep that lettuce production going.”

With the increase in production, the two growers are also
expanding their customer base. Much of the produce grown in the greenhouse and
the basement will be sold at Dawn’s Country Market in Milton. They will also be
looking to expand their sales to local restaurants.

“Since we started growing in late summer last year, we
need to find out what is going to be the demand during the summer,” McVey said.
“The demand drops off during the winter. We kind of started doing this
backwards. We began producing before we had built up our customer base.”

Sold on LEDs

All of the lettuce plants produced in the basement are
germinated in a separate mini-NFT propagation system before being moved into
the four-tier production system. The propagation system is equipped with
fluorescent lights.

“Once the seedlings have germinated they are moved to the
production channels under the LEDs or the fluorescent lamps,” McVey said. “We
are currently only using two of the four tiers in the basement that are
available. Initially, we were using all four tiers, but found out that we were
producing more lettuce than our restaurant customer could use so we cut back to
two levels. We will build up our clientele before we start producing again at
the level we started at.”

The two growers have seen a noticeable difference between
the lettuce grown under the LED strips and the fluorescent lamps.

“All of the lettuce varieties grew better under the LEDs
than under the fluorescent lamps,” Olanowski said. “We initially grew 50
lettuce plants under the fluorescents and 50 under the LEDs so that we could
compare the results. For the two levels we are running, the upper level is LEDs
and the lower level is fluorescents. We had considered running the LEDs and
fluorescents on the same level side-by-side. But we didn’t want the light from either
light source influencing the growth on the other side. We also didn’t want to
compromise the air flow between the plants by putting some type of divide
between the plants if the lights were used on the same level.

“We wanted our trials to be identical other than the
light source. We produced the exact same lettuce varieties under the same
growing conditions. All of the variables were the same except for the light
source.”

McVey said they have seen a definite difference in the
growth rate under the two light sources.

“For the first three to four days lettuce plants grown
under the fluorescent lights appeared to have the edge,” he said. “After that,
plants under the LEDs really began to show a difference. The density of the LED
plants was much thicker. If we were to harvest the plants based on size, those
under the LEDs would probably be ready seven to 10 days earlier than those
under the fluorescent lamps. The plants under the LEDs were larger and weighed
more.”

Bob
McVey said there is a definite difference in lettuce
growth rate under the LEDs and fluorescent lights. For
the first few days plants grown under the fluorescent
lights appear to grow more quickly. But after that, plants
under the LEDs ended up being larger and weighed more.

Olanowski said the footprint of the LEDs is much wider
than the footprint of the fluorescent lamps.

“On every fluorescent tier there are four hoods, each
containing four 32-watt bulbs for a total of 16 bulbs,” he said. “There are six
LED modules installed on another level. Each LED strip is 35-watts. We’re
running 210 watts on the LED level and we’re running 512 watts on the
fluorescent level. That’s a significant difference in the amount of electricity
used for the LEDs and the fluorescents. One LED module is only 3 watts more
than one fluorescent bulb.

“The LEDs are producing so much more plant growth per
level. If we decided to replace all of the fluorescent lamps in the system with
LEDs, we know that we could maximize our yield potential.”

Overcoming
production issues

Olanowski said that when they started growing the lettuce
in the basement they began with an organic fertilizer.

“It had the consistency of watered-down molasses,” he
said. “It certainly wasn’t suitable for a recirculating NFT system. Also, we
were having pH problems. The pH seemed to be going up to 8.5-9 every other day.

“We heard that organic fertilizers can cause issues with
recirculating systems. We switched over to Advanced Nutrients’ pH Perfect Plant
Fertilizer. We have not had any pH or nutrient issues since making the switch.”

Another issue that the two growers had to resolve when
they started using the LEDs in the tier system was related to the proximity of
the lights to the plants.

“We initially put the LEDs too close to the plants and
were seeing some tip burn,” McVey said. “The LEDs were 8 inches from the top of
the plants and they were causing some burn. We needed to raise the modules up 4
inches so that they were a foot away from the plants.”

Olanowski and McVey also learned that even though they
were using LEDs and fluorescent lights on only two of the four levels that
adequate air circulation was critical.

“Initially, we were seeing a lot of tip burn,” McVey
said. “This symptom wasn’t showing up until the plants were fairly mature. We
thought we were having a problem with calcium deficiency. We added a couple
18-inch oscillating fans and once the air circulation was increased the problem
cleared up.

“We don’t think tip burn will be an issue with the
lettuce that is grown in the greenhouse. We looked at different ways to keep
the greenhouse cool, but most of them are relatively expensive. We installed a
32-inch exhaust fan in the greenhouse and when that is turned on there is good
air movement through the house. If air circulation does turn out to be a
problem during the summer, then we can install horizontal airflow circulation
fans.”

For more: Two
Bros Hydro, twobroshydro@gmail.com.

David Kuack is a freelance technical writer in Fort
Worth, Texas; dkuack@gmail.com.

Visit our corporate website at http://www.hortamericas.com

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Hydroponic Fodder Trial

With drought affecting much of the United States I was reminded of a method to produce fresh
feed for livestock with minimal input: hydroponic fodder.  Hydroponic fodder production is simply that,
growing livestock feed (barley, oats, clover, alfalfa etc.) hydroponically.  Generally speaking, production time of
hydroponic fodder is rapid.  Barley for
example can be ready to harvest in as little as 7 days!  A
grower can expect approximately seven pounds of fodder for every one pound of barley seed. Possible additional benefits of hydroponic fodder include higher meat and milk production and better heat cycles.  So,
the Hort Americas Research Division set out to grow barley seed under LEDs in a
recirculating hydroponic system. Johnny’s Selected Seeds has a wide selection
of seed.  Johnny’s has organic barley
seed available in a variety of bag sizes.  We
selected two, 5 lb bags for just under $9.75 per bag.  Fifty pound bags are also available.  There are other bulk seed suppliers and we will continue to compare product and pricing.

Barley seed in propagation trays.

Upon receipt, the seed was poured into the propagation trays
at a depth of approximately 1/2”.  The
drainage holes were plugged and the seed was submerged in water for 24 hr.  After 24 hr. the water was drained
from the trays and discarded.  After
draining the water, a half-strength nutrient solution was prepared using Kimitec
brand fertilizer (see below).  Lighting was initiated
at Day 1 using GreenPower LED Deep Red / Blue 120 Production Modules (DRB 120).  The DRB 120s were placed over the center of
each tray at 12” above the table.  A Li-Cor
quantum sensor and meter (LI-205A) was used to measure instantaneous light
intensity.  Light intensity was
approximately 70 µmol·m-2·s-1
and photoperiod was 18 hr.  This produced
a DLI of approximately 4 to 5 mol·d-1.  To maintain adequate moisture and provide nutrition,
the seeds were irrigated every two hours for 5 minutes.  Radicles were visible at Day 1.  After two days root formation was
obvious.  At Day 3 coleoptiles began to
form and a full strength nutrient
solution was applied to the plants.  By Day 4, the coleoptiles appeared to double
in length and the first leaves were visible.  At Day
5, leaves continued to grow and the root mat was well developed. Plants appeared to be ready by Day 6, but we decided to continue growing the barley
for 7 full days before harvesting.  On Day
8 the fodder was harvested and delivered to a local goat farm within 40
minutes.  We want to thank Katherine of Harrison Farm for expressing interest in this trial and for allowing us to bring the fodder to her goats.

So in summary:

  • Day 0:
    • Seed poured directly into hydroponic
      propagation trays at a depth of ½”.
    • Seed soaked in water for 24 hr.
  • Day 1:
    • Drained/discarded the water from the trays
      after 24 hr.
    • Began irrigating with a half-strength
      nutrient solution every 2 hours for 5 minutes:
      • 2 ml of Espartan per gallon of water
      • 2 ml of Amifort per gallon of water
      • 6 ml of Caos per gallon of water
      • 3 ml of Tundamix per gallon of water
      • 0.5 tsp of MgSO4 per
        gallon
    • Lighting provided to seeds via DRB 120s
    • One DRB 120 was placed 12”
      above the center of each propagation tray (three total).
      • Light intensity was
        approximately 70 µmol·m-2·s-1. 
      • Photoperiod was 18 hr.
      • DLI was between approximately 4 to 5 mol·d-1.
      • Energy consumption per DRB 120 is 35 Watts
        •  Daily energy consumption = 1.89 kW per day
        • Total energy consumption (7 days) =  12.23 kW
        • Local electrical rate = $0.08 USD per kWh
          • Daily lighting cost = $0.15 USD per day
  • Day 2:
    • Continued irrigation and lighting protocol
  • Day 3:
    • Nutrient solution was increased to
      full strength:
      • 4 ml of Espartan per gallon of water
      • 6 ml of Bombardier per gallon of water
      • 13 ml of Caos per gallon of water
      • 6 ml of Tundamix per gallon of water
      • 1 tsp of MgSO4 per
        gallon
  • Day 4 through 7:
    • Continued irrigation and lighting protocol
  • Day 8:
    • The fodder was harvested and delivered to a local
      livestock farmer within 40 minutes.

NOTE: Nutrient regimen was a trial. Basically, we used  recommended Kimitec fertilizer rates per gallon for coco slab growing and applied it via a completely soilless, recirculating system.  We will continue to adjust the nutrition and should we conduct tissue analysis, we will post the results.  We have selected to postpone the discussion comparing the cost per ton of hydroponic fodder versus cost per ton of hay/grain.  To be continued…

Keep growing and make it a great day!
Cheers,
Dr. B.

Day 1 – radicle emergence
Day 2 – root formation

Day 3 – coleoptile formation

Day 4 – coleoptile and first leaf formation

Day 4 – coleoptile and first leaf formation

Day 4 – barley under LEDs

Day 5 – root formation

Day 6 – first leaf well developed

Day 7 – ready to harvest

Day 8 – harvested and delivered = happy goats!

Visit our corporate website at http://www.hortamericas.com