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December 2016 Newsletter

Hort Americas Corporate Newsletter  |  December 2016

Greetings Alicia,
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.

 

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

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 greenhouse is also being used to demonstrate products offered in the company’s online catalog.

Tyler Baras, who is the company’s special projects manager, is overseeing the trialing of conventional and organic substrates in different production systems.

“The trials I am focusing on are organic substrates vs. conventional substrates,” Baras said. “I’m primarily using stonewool or rockwool as the conventional propagation substrate. I am also starting to trial some loose substrates, including peat and perlite.

Read More on the Blog!

 

— PRODUCT UPDATES —

OMRI-certified Riococo organic coir plugs

Hort Americas offers several Riococo coir substrate products including OMRI-certified Riococo Closed Bottom Organic Plugs. The plugs can be used in a wide variety of production systems, including 1020 trays, grow bags, nutrient film technique (NFT), raft systems, aquaponics and aeroponics. Available in 25 mm, 32 mm and 42 mm sizes, these coir plugs are ideal for the production of leafy greens and culinary herbs.

 

Grodan Cress Plate

The Grodan Cress Plate is the optimal substrate for the production of microgreens and bulk harvested leafy vegetables and culinary herbs in vertical farming production systems. These thin sheets of Grodan stone wool, available from Hort Americas, are specially developed for quick growing crops that need minimal substrate.

The plates deliver a uniform water level that provides quick and easy germination. The plates, which are the thinnest Grodan product on the market, produce even crop development.

The plates are available in two sizes: 49.5 x 24 x 1 cm, which fits 10/20 trays and 60 x 50 x 1 cm. The 10/20 tray size plates are available 90 per carton; the 60 x 50 size plates come 50 sheets per carton.

 

 

USDA issues final guidance for organic crop production materials

USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service has published the final guidance on the Classification of Materials, and a list of Materials for Organic Crop Production.

The National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (National List), part of the USDA organic regulations, includes synthetic substances that are permitted and natural substances that are prohibited for organic production. In addition, the National List includes all nonagricultural and nonorganic agricultural substances that may be allowed in processed organic products.

The guidance on Classification of Materials implements recommendations of the National Organic Standards Board, and clarifies existing practices used to classify materials as synthetic or non-synthetic and as agricultural or nonagricultural. The guidance includes decision trees to help classify substances used in organic production and handling.

The guidance on Materials for Organic Crop Production includes tools for organic producers to understand which input materials are allowed in organic crop production, and a list of materials that are specifically prohibited in organic crop production.

 

 

 

Read Urban Ag News Issue 15, The Lighting Issue!

We are proud to be a sponsor of Urban Ag News. There are great articles in the latest online magazine issue including the cover story which focuses on the lighting research being conducted at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. Leo Marcelis, head of chair group horticulture and product physiology, talks about how university researchers are studying the effects of LED lights on the growth, flowering and fruiting of vegetable and ornamental plants in controlled environments.

Click here to go read Issue 15!

 

 

From all of us at Hort Americas, we hope you have a Merry Christmas and a happy holiday season.

Our office will be closed on Dec. 23 and Dec. 30.

We look forward to working with you in 2017.

Sincerely,

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2801 Renee St,  Bedford, Texas 76021  United States of America    469-532-2383

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November 2016 Newsletter

Hort Americas Corporate Newsletter  |  November 2016

Greetings,
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.

 

Fertilizer trials look at leafy greens, herb growth in 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 greenhouse is also being used to demonstrate products offered in the company’s online catalog.

Tyler Baras, who is the company’s special projects manager, is overseeing the trialing of leafy greens and herbs in five different production systems.

Read More on the Blog!

 

— PRODUCT UPDATES —

Hydroponic fertilizer

Hort Americas offers a variety of organic and inorganic fertilizers including its own specially formulated hydroponic fertilizer. Hort Americas 9-7-37 Hydroponic Fertilizer is specially formulated for growing leafy greens, culinary herbs, microgreens and other crops in hydroponic systems.

Hort Americas designed this water soluble fertilizer to deliver the essential nutrients for efficient uptake by the plants’ root system. It can be used as a constant feed or as a supplement. The fertilizer is available in either a 25- or 5-pound bag.

Hort Americas developed this unique fertilizer in cooperation with CEA hydroponic specialists, academicians and researchers to meet the nutritional requirements of edible crops produced by hydroponic growers. Hort Americas recommends that hydroponic growers have their water tested by a professional water analysis laboratory to determine its nutrients, pH, EC and total alkalinity prior to using its Hydroponic Fertilizer.

 

Grodan Cress Plate

The Grodan Cress Plate is the optimal substrate for the production of microgreens and bulk harvested leafy vegetables and culinary herbs in vertical farming production systems. These thin sheets of Grodan stone wool, available from Hort Americas, are specially developed for quick growing crops that need minimal substrate.

The plates deliver a uniform water level that provides quick and easy germination. The plates, which are the thinnest Grodan product on the market produce even crop development.

The plates are available in two sizes: 49.5 x 24 x 1 cm, which fits 10/20 trays and 60 x 50 x 1 cm. The 10/20 tray size plates are available 90 per carton; the 60 x 50 size plates come 50 sheets per carton.

 

Feedback sought on proposed horticultural lighting label

Horticultural researchers at several U.S. universities have developed a proposed standardized product label that would allow for the comparison of manufacturers’ lamps used for all horticultural applications. The label includes the efficacy (output of photosynthetically active radiation per unit of electric power consumed measured in micromoles per joule (μmol/J), conversion efficiency, photon flux output in key wavebands in 100 nanometer (nm) increments across the 300-900 nm waveband, the phytochrome photostationary state, and graphs of the normalized photon flux across the 300‐900 nm waveband, as well as the light intensity distribution at a specific distance from the light source.

The lighting researchers are asking for industry feedback on this proposed performance label that they believe would provide uniform information on lamps used for horticultural applications.

 

 

Read Urban Ag News Issue 15, The Lighting Issue!

We are proud to be a sponsor of Urban Ag News. There are great articles in the latest online magazine issue including the cover story which focuses on the lighting research being conducted at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. Leo Marcelis, head of chair group horticulture and product physiology, talks about how university researchers are studying the effects of LED lights on the growth, flowering and fruiting of vegetable and ornamental plants in controlled environments.

Click here to go read Issue 15!

Sincerely,

SPONSOR OF
    

Connect With Us

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2801 Renee St,  Bedford, Texas 76021  United States of America    469-532-2383

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October 2016 Newsletter

Hort Americas Corporate Newsletter  |  October 2016

Greetings ,
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.

 

Hort Americas retrofits greenhouse for trialing hydroponic growing systems, products

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 and experience he has gained from those growing operations and putting it to use in a 12,000-square-foot demonstration and research greenhouse in Dallas, Texas.

Baras, who is the special projects manager at Hort Americas, is overseeing the trialing of leafy greens and herbs in five different production systems along with the testing of potential products for the company’s online catalog.

Read More on the Blog!

 

— PRODUCT UPDATES —

Substrates for vegetable and ornamental crops

Grodan AO and AX rockwool cubes are suitable for the production of a wide range of edible and ornamental crops. Available from Hort Americas, these rockwool cubes can be used to produce vegetables, including tomatoes, lettuce, as well as ornamental and even aquatic plants.

Grodan’s rockwool cubes are specially designed for irrigation efficiency and uniformity. The cubes do not tie up water or nutrients, ensuring these are continually available to the plants. This enables growers to easily control plant growth to achieve higher yields.
The cubes are arranged in sheets that make propagating and transplanting easy. The compostable cube sheets fit easily into standard 1020 flats.

Hort Americas also offers several Riococo coir substrate products, including the OMRI-certified Riococo Closed Bottom Organic Plugs. These organic coir plugs work in a wide variety of production systems, including 1020 trays, grow bags, nutrient film technique (NFT), raft systems, aquaponics and aeroponics. Available in 25-, 32- and 42-mm sizes, the plugs are ideal for the production of leafy greens and culinary herbs.

 

Lighting for controlled environment agriculture

GE Arize Lynk produces the light intensity needed for typical indoor growing applications, including growth chambers and rooms, greenhouses, hydroponic, aquaponic and aeroponic facilities and vertical farms. These easy-to-install fixtures are available in 4- and 8-foot LED light bars. The fixtures can be daisy-chained from end to end to reduce costs and time. Three (red/blue, pink and white) light spectrums are available. Arize Lynk is a LED system designed to facilitate indoor farming by providing the most suitable spectrum of light in a uniform pattern for even plant growth. The fixtures can operate in a temperature range of 32°F to +104°F.

GE Arize Life is a LED replacement for fluorescent lights used in tissue culture labs or in growth chambers. Available in 2-, 4- and 8-foot light bars, these lights offer all of the LED advantages of longer life, energy savings and lower maintenance. The lights can be daisy-chained end to end making installation easier and faster. The fixtures can operate in a temperature range of 32°F to +104°F.

 

Horticoop and Hort Americas team up to offer high quality products, product knowledge and customer service

Horticoop BV, parent company of Texas-based Hort Americas, is a global provider of high quality fertilizers and trace elements for commercial greenhouse flower and hydroponic vegetable producers worldwide. Together they bring years of knowledge and experience needed to offer and support a wide variety of customers in the United State and other parts of North America.

Orders are delivered from stock or shipped straight from the manufacturers to the grower’s site. Horticoop only works with trusted manufacturers that have proven track records of providing consistent, high quality products.

For more information, please contact Hort Americas and Horticoop at infohortamericas@gmail.com.

 

Target to trial vertical farms in its stores

In October 2015, Target announced the formation of the Food + Future coLAB, a multi-year collaboration between the retailer, global design firm IDEO and MIT Media Lab. The lab is staffed by bioengineers, students, nutritionists and farmers who are working on the future of food. Their work focuses on urban farming, food transparency and authenticity, supply chain and health. The goals of coLAB are to give people better control over their food choices and to help them to eat healthier.

Some of the concepts being tested by the coLab include: Good & Gather food labeling, providing shoppers with real time nutritional information and operating vertical farms inside Target stores.

Business Insider reports Target plans to incorporate vertical farms into a few of its stores next year. The vertical farms are expected to start with the production of leafy greens with the potential to expand to other vegetable crops.

 

Read Urban Ag News Issue 15, The Lighting Issue!

We are proud to be a sponsor of Urban Ag News. There are great articles in the latest online magazine issue including the cover story which focuses on the lighting research being conducted at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. Leo Marcelis, head of chair group horticulture and product physiology, talks about how university researchers are studying the effects of LED lights on the growth, flowering and fruiting of vegetable and ornamental plants in controlled environments.

Click here to go read Issue 15!

Sincerely,

SPONSOR OF
    

Connect With Us

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2801 Renee St,  Bedford, Texas 76021  United States of America    469-532-2383

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September 2016 Newsletter

Hort Americas Corporate Newsletter  |  September 2016

Greetings,
Research at Michigan State University shows growers have a choice when it comes to lights for photoperiodic control.

 

LEDs offer option 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 applications with traditional light sources including incandescent, fluorescent and high-pressure sodium lamps.
“After we determined that LEDs were as effective at controlling flowering as other traditional light sources, we began to look more closely at how different wavebands emitted by LEDs actually regulate different aspects of flowering and photomorphogenesis,” said Michigan State Ph.D. graduate research assistant Qingwu (William) Meng.

Read More on the Blog!

 

 

— PRODUCT PICKS —

Interlighting LED

The Sharp Linear Interlighting LED Fixture, which is available from Hort Americas, promotes plant growth and flowering through the use of horizontal lighting to areas of plants that don’t receive adequate light from natural sun light or top lighting systems. This high efficient, 8-foot lamp is easy to install for interlighting connection between fixtures. Its slim design ensures no additional shadowing on the plants.
The energy-efficient fixture uses up to 80 percent less energy than standard high pressure sodium lamps. With its reduced heat generation, the fixtures can be situated close to the plants for optimal light conditions. Sharp Linear Interlighting has been shown to provide excellent results in tests at licensed commercial/medical cannabis facilities.

Shading compounds

Hort Americas is offering a new line of safe and environmentally-friendly shade compounds from Sudlac.
Eclipse LD is a versatile white shading compound that offers protection for an entire season due to its high wear resistance. It offers a higher level of protection due to its chalk pigment. The desired level of shading is adjustable by regulating the amount of compound used. After it is diluted, Eclipse LD can be applied manually or by machine to any greenhouse glazing.
Optifuse IR is a diffuse coating that scatters the light to a high degree in combination with effective heat protection. The high light levels offer light loving floral and vegetable crops the ideal base for healthy growth. After it is diluted, Optifuse IR can be easily applied manually or by machine to any type of glass greenhouse.
TransPAR is a very efficient shading compound that offers a high level of temperature reduction while still maintaining high light levels. Crops benefit an entire season from the optimum balance between photosynthetically active radiation and heat radiation with a high level of diffusion. After it is diluted, TransPAR can be applied manually or by machine to any greenhouse glazing.

 

FDA provides $21.8 million for states to implement produce safety rule

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will provide $21.8 million to support 42 states in the implementation of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act produce safety rule. FDA seeks to partner with the states to deliver education and technical assistance to farmers and to provide on-going inspection, compliance and oversight.
The cooperative agreement between FDA and the states provides awardees with the resources to meet a number of goals. These include: formulating a multi-year plan to implement a produce safety system, developing and providing education, outreach and technical assistance, prioritizing farming operations covered by the produce safety rule, and developing programs to address the specific and unique needs of farming communities.
Applicants were classified into five tiers of funding eligibility based on the estimated number of farms growing covered produce within their jurisdiction. The funding opportunity is for five years, subject to the availability of funding from Congress. Further information on state awardees can be found on the State Produce Implementation Cooperative Agreement Program website page.

 

Expanding Possibilities with e-GRO®

GRODAN, a global leader in stone wool substrate solutions introduces e-Gro: an easy to use, mobile app that gives real-time substrate information. e-Gro is a new service from GRODAN developed to support customers with a GroSens® MultiSensor system.

Read more on the blog

 

Hort Americas Hydroponic Fertilizer

In its efforts to fuel progress in controlled environment agriculture (CEA), Hort Americas is now offering its new 9-7-37 Hydroponic Fertilizer. Hort Americas developed this unique fertilizer in cooperation with CEA hydroponic specialists, academicians and researchers to meet the nutritional requirements of edible crops produced by hydroponic growers. Hort Americas recommends that hydroponic growers have their water tested by a professional water analysis laboratory to determine its nutrients, pH, EC and total alkalinity prior to using its 9-7-37 Hydroponic Fertilizer.

 

Read Urban Ag News Issue 14

We are proud to be a sponsor of Urban Ag News. There are great articles in the latest online magazine issue including cover story looks at Kimbal Musk’s “community through food” philosophy. Kimbal co-founded The Kitchen restaurants to serve food and drink from local farmers, ranchers and suppliers for the sustainable enjoyment of the whole community. Kimbal also helped co-found the Learning Gardens that serve as outdoor classrooms and experiential play-spaces that connect kids to real food and empower them to make healthier food choices.

Click here to go read Issue 14!

 

Sincerely,

SPONSOR OF
    

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2801 Renee St,  Bedford, Texas 76021  United States of America    469-532-2383

 

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August 2016 Newsletter

Hort Americas Corporate Newsletter  |  August 2016

Greetings,
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.

 

Monitoring is crucial for growing lettuce and leafy greens 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 professor Neil Mattson said he works with all three types of growers.
“I see both vegetable field growers and ornamental greenhouse growers trying to produce lettuce and leafy greens year round,” he said. “Both are quite common. Field vegetable growers are looking for a crop that can generate year-round cash flow. Ornamental growers are looking to fill their greenhouses in the off-season. A lot of ornamental growers no longer produce poinsettias in the fall or spring bulb crops and spring plant propagation that they would normally do in the winter. Growers could have as much as a six-month window when their facilities are not being used.”
Mattson said ornamental growers tend to better understand what it takes to grow a year-round crop.

Read More on the Blog!

 

Fertilizer injectors have multiple uses

Dosatron fertilizer injectors are water-powered requiring no electricity to operate. Available from Hort Americas, these easy-to-maintain injectors are simple to use and are adjustable to allow for flexible dosage rates.
The injectors work with various growing substrates and irrigation methods. The injectors can be used to inject a variety of products including fertilizers, insecticides, fungicides, organic supplements and sanitizers.
All of the units come with a mounting bracket, suction hose, weighted strainer and operating manual.

— PRODUCT PICK —

Substrates for vegetable and ornamental crops

Grodan AO and AX rockwool cubes are suitable for the production of a wide range of edible and ornamental crops. Available from Hort Americas, these rockwool cubes can be used to produce vegetables, including tomatoes, lettuce, as well as ornamental and even aquatic plants.
Grodan’s rockwool cubes are specially designed for irrigation efficiency and uniformity. The cubes do not tie up water or nutrients, ensuring these are continually available to the plants. This enables growers to easily control plant growth to achieve higher yields.
The cubes are arranged in sheets that make propagating and transplanting easy. The compostable cube sheets fit easily into standard 1020 flats.

Hort Americas is offering the Grodan Cress Plate. It is the optimal product for the production of microgreens and in bulk harvested leafy greens and culinary herbs in vertical farming set-ups. These thin sheets of stone wool are specially developed for quick growing crops that need minimal substrate.
The Cress Plate provides a uniform water level, quick and easy germination and even crop development. Two sizes are available: 49.5 x 24 x 1 cm, which fits 10/20 trays and comes 90 per carton, and 60 x 50 x 1 cm, which comes with 50 sheets per carton.
Hort Americas also offers several Riococo coir substrate products, including the OMRI-certified Riococo Closed Bottom Organic Plugs. These organic coir plugs work in a wide variety of production systems, including 1020 trays, grow bags, nutrient film technique (NFT), raft systems, aquaponics and aeroponics. Available in 25-, 32- and 42-mm sizes, the plugs are ideal for the production of leafy greens and culinary herbs.

 

Hydroponic and Aquaponic Task Force releases hydroponics and aquaponics report

In July the Hydroponic and Aquaponic Task Force released its report on hydroponic and aquaponic production practices and their alignment with the USDA organic regulations. The task force was charged with preparing a report to inform the National Organic Standards Board (https://www.ams.usda.gov/rules-regulations/organic/nosb) as it determines the best path forward on hydroponic and aquaponic production systems.
NOSB is a federal advisory committee whose members recommend whether substances should be allowed or prohibited in organic production or handling, assist in developing standards for substances to be used in organic production, and advise the USDA Secretary of Agriculture on other aspects of organic regulations.
The public can provide comments to the NOSB during the public comment period for the NOSB’s meeting in November. There will be additional opportunities for comment after the NOSB develops a proposal on hydroponic and aquaponic production practices.

 

 

Read Urban Ag News Issue 14

We are proud to be a sponsor of Urban Ag News. There are great articles in the latest online magazine issue including cover story looks at Kimbal Musk’s “community through food” philosophy. Kimbal co-founded The Kitchen restaurants to serve food and drink from local farmers, ranchers and suppliers for the sustainable enjoyment of the whole community. Kimbal also helped co-found the Learning Gardens that serve as outdoor classrooms and experiential play-spaces that connect kids to real food and empower them to make healthier food choices.

Click here to go read Issue 14!

 

Sincerely,

SPONSOR OF
    

Connect With Us

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2801 Renee St,  Bedford, Texas 76021  United States of America    469-532-2383

 

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July 2016 Newsletter

Hort Americas Corporate Newsletter  |  July 2016

Greetings,
McGill University bioresource engineer Mark Lefsrud said it’s time to take plant research and production to a higher level with LEDs.

 

Taking LEDs to the next level

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 of light,” said Mark Lefsrud, associate professor in the Bioresource Engineering Department at McGill University in Quebec, Canada. “We have to get into high intensity lighting studies to truly understand what is happening in plants. NASA has done some preliminary work with high intensity LEDs, but we have taken the research further.

“No one grows plants at 150 micromoles. Plants are usually grown at 300 micromoles and higher. We have gone well above 1,500 micromoles and in some of our LED tests, we have gone as high as 5,000 micromoles. The plants start responding to what I consider to be more normal field type conditions.”

Read More on the Blog!

 

LEDs to meet your production needs

Hort Americas offers a variety of LED light fixtures for both propagation and production applications.

TOPLIGHTING

GE Arize Lynk produces the light intensity needed for typical indoor growing applications, including growth chambers and rooms, greenhouses, hydroponic, aquaponic and aeroponic facilities and vertical farms. Available in 4- and 8-foot LED light bars, the fixtures are easily installed and can be daisy-chained from end to end to reduce costs and time. Arize Lynk is a LED system designed to facilitate indoor farming by providing the most suitable spectrum of light in a uniform pattern for even plant growth. The fixtures can operate in a temperature range of 32°F to +104°F.

GE Arize Life is a LED replacement for fluorescent lights used in tissue culture labs or in growth chambers. Available in 2-, 4- and 8-foot light bars, these lights offer all of the LED advantages of longer life, energy savings and lower maintenance. The lights can be daisy-chained end to end making installation easier and faster. The fixtures can operate in a temperature range of 32°F to +104°F.

Philips GreenPower LED toplighting offers greenhouse growers great efficiency. Whether growing bedding plants, ornamentals, perennials, young plants, unrooted cuttings, herbs, or high-wire vegetables, Philips LED toplighting offers the right levels of red, far red, and blue that support quality growth. The lights are available in a variety of spectrums to support optimal plant growth. These LEDs last more than twice as long as conventional horticultural lighting and have a lifetime of 25,000 hours at 90 percent of output.

P.L. Light Systems HortiLED TOP is available in multiple distribution (80º and 150º) and spectral options. It is engineered to deliver lighting performance on par with that of traditional light sources. HortiLED TOP has an easy plug-and-use platform, intuitive mounting and multiple voltage options that allow for quick installation or retrofitting.

 

INTERLIGHTING

The Sharp Linear Interlighting LED Fixture promotes plant growth and flowering through the use of horizontal lighting to areas of plants that don’t receive adequate light from natural sun light or top lighting systems. This high efficient, 8-foot lamp is easy to install for interlighting connection between fixtures. Its slim design ensures no additional shadowing on the plants.

The energy-efficient fixture uses up to 80 percent less energy than standard high pressure sodium lamps. With its reduced heat generation, the fixtures can be situated close to the plants for optimal light conditions.

Philips GreenPower LED interlighting modules make it is possible to provide light between the plants without unwanted heat generation. This enables all the plants to be lit at the points where they gain most benefit. Adding GreenPower LED interlighting to toplighting creates a flexible lighting system that provides optimum control over the plants. A grower can decide how to use light to respond best to plant and climate conditions and the plant load.

P.L. Light Systems HortiLED INTER provides symmetrical light distribution to deliver light uniformity across the surface of the leaves throughout the canopy. An external driver module powers up to eight HortiLED INTER fixtures and allows for easy in-field replacement if required.

 

 

U.S. organic industry sets record sales in 2015

The U.S. organic industry saw new records in 2015, with total organic product sales reaching a new high of $43.3 billion. Sales for 2015 were up 11 percent from the previous year’s record level. Over half of all households in the U.S. now purchase organic produce.

The Organic Trade Association’s 2016 Organic Industry Survey reports organic fruits and vegetables retained their longstanding position as the largest of all the major organic categories with sales of $14.4 billion, up 10.5 percent. Almost 13 percent of the produce sold in the U.S. is now organic.

The organic industry saw its largest annual dollar gain ever in 2015, adding $4.2 billion in sales, up from the $3.9 billion in new sales in 2014. Of the $43.3 billion in total organic sales, $39.7 billion were organic food sales, up 11 percent from the previous year, and non-food organic products accounted for $3.6 billion, up 13 percent. Nearly 5 percent of all the food sold in the U.S. in 2015 was organic.

Fresh organic produce sales in the U.S. reached $13 billion in 2015. This $13-billion market includes $5.7 billion worth of organic produce sold in the mass market (supermarkets, big box stores and warehouse clubs), $4.7 billion sold by specialty and natural retailers and $2.7 billion in direct sales (farmers markets, CSAs and online).

 

 

Read Urban Ag News Issue 14

We are proud to be a sponsor of Urban Ag News. There are great articles in their latest online magazine issue including cover story looks at Kimbal Musk’s “community through food” philosophy. Kimbal co-founded The Kitchen restaurants to serve food and drink from local farmers, ranchers and suppliers for the sustainable enjoyment of the whole community. Kimbal also helped co-found the Learning Gardens that serve as outdoor classrooms and experiential play-spaces that connect kids to real food and empower them to make healthier food choices.

Click here to go read Issue 14!

 

 

Sincerely,

SPONSOR OF
    

Connect With Us

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2801 Renee St,  Bedford, Texas 76021  United States of America    469-532-2383

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June 2016 Newsletter

 



Hort Americas Corporate Newsletter  |  June 2016


Greetings,

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.

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

Kevin Folta, professor and chairman of the Horticultural Sciences Department at the University of Florida, has been writing online blogs since the late 1990s.

“Initially it was a way for me to communicate funny ideas and comedy,” Folta said. “I did a lot of blogs that covered critical thinking and skepticism, especially for topics like UFOs, quack medical claims and the anti-vaccine movement. It was kind of over-the-top criticism.”

Folta said he found having his own website was a great way to get his name out to the scientific community as well as to the public. He quickly learned that social media was also a good way to disseminate science communication. He began to use social media to promote his own research.

Read More on the Blog!

Keep your greenhouses cool

As the temperature in your greenhouses heat up it’s a good time to look at cooling equipment from Hort Americas. The Schaefer Wet Wall Evaporative Cooling System can provide up to 30°F of cooling using water evaporation. Water that does not evaporate is recycled through the pads, so no water is wasted.

The snap-together, leak-proof PVC system includes a supply line, spray line and reservoir. Pads are available in standard wet wall lengths and heights. Custom lengths and heights are also available. The system comes with single- or multi-stage automatic controls and center-feed and end-feed water supply lines.

Hort Americas also offers a variety of exhaust, circulation and horizontal air flow fans.

Fertilizer injectors have multiple uses

Dosatron fertilizer injectors are water-powered requiring no electricity to operate. Available from Hort Americas, these easy-to-maintain injectors are simple to use and are adjustable to allow for flexible dosage rates.

The injectors work with various growing substrates and irrigation methods. The injectors can be used to inject a variety of products including fertilizers, insecticides, fungicides, organic supplements and sanitizers.

All of the units come with a mounting bracket, suction hose, weighted strainer and operating manual.

Video game encourages kids to eat more fruits and vegetables

A study of children who were asked to create action or coping plans while playing a video game promoting fruit and vegetable consumption found that children ate more fruits and vegetables. The 10-episode video game, Squire’s Quest II: Saving the Kingdom of Fivealot, was designed to both entertain and promote behavior change.

The fourth- and fifth-grade children were divided into four groups based on the type of implementation intention, specific plans, created during goal setting. Researchers found that those children in the action and coping groups reported higher vegetable consumption at dinner, and all groups had significant increases in fruit consumption at breakfast, lunch and snack times.

“Few children eat enough servings of fruit and vegetables each day,” said Dr. Karen Cullen, professor of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine and the USDA-Agricultural Research Service Children’s Nutrition Research Center. “These foods are part of a healthy diet, and may reduce the risk of some chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease and certain cancers. So interventions to help children choose and eat more fruit and vegetables are important.”

The report on this research appears in Vol. 48, Issue 5 of the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior.

Cultivate’16 is around the corner!

We’re counting down to Cultivate’16, July 9-12, in Columbus, Ohio. Stop by the Hort Americas’ Booth #946 while visiting the trade show. Click here for more info! 

Read Urban Ag News Issue 13

There are great articles in Urban Ag News Issue 13 including the conversion of a recreation center into an indoor urban farm near Richmond, Va. Also, find out how one U.S. company is looking to expand its vertical farm operations both domestically and internationally. It will even take you out of this world with an article about growing food in outer space.

Click here to go read Issue 13!

 

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May 2016 Newsletter

 



Hort Americas Corporate Newsletter  |  May 2016

 


Greetings {$firstname},
 

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.

Direct-to-consumer food sales could help growers succeed

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 report was to provide Congress with information regarding the “scope of and trends in local and regional food systems.”

Nigel Key, a USDA-ERS economist and co-author of the Congressional report, studied some of the data that was collected to determine if direct-to-consumer sales had an impact on the survivability of farmers.

Read More on the Blog!

Hort Americas offers specially formulated hydroponic fertilizer

Hort Americas 9-7-37 Hydroponic Fertilizer is specially formulated for growing leafy greens, culinary herbs, microgreens and other crops in hydroponic systems.

Hort Americas designed this water soluble fertilizer to deliver the essential nutrients for efficient uptake by the plants’ root system. It can be used as a constant feed or as a supplement. The fertilizer is available in either a 25- or 5-pound bag.

Hort Americas developed this unique fertilizer in cooperation with CEA hydroponic specialists, academicians and researchers to meet the nutritional requirements of edible crops produced by hydroponic growers. Hort Americas recommends that hydroponic growers have their water tested by a professional water analysis laboratory to determine its nutrients, pH, EC and total alkalinity prior to using its Hydroponic Fertilizer.

—  Special Deal!  —

Purchase Grodan rockwool cubes,
receive hydroponic fertilizer free!

For a limited time Hort Americas is offering a special promotion on its Grodan rockwool cubes and 9-7- 37 Hydroponic Fertilizer. With the purchase of three cases of either Grodan AO or AX rockwool cubes, Hort Americas will offer a free 5-pound bag of its 9-7-37 Hydroponic Fertilizer.

Grodan rockwool cubes are suitable for the production of a wide range of edible and ornamental crops. These cubes can be used to produce vegetables, including tomatoes, lettuce, as well as ornamental and even aquatic plants.

Grodan’s rockwool cubes are specially designed for irrigation efficiency and uniformity. The cubes do not tie up water or nutrients, ensuring these are continually available to the plants. This enables growers to easily control plant growth to achieve higher yields.

The cubes are arranged in sheets that make propagating and transplanting easy. The compostable cube sheets fit easily into standard 1020 flats.

 

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Vilsack comments on latest organic sales report

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently commented on the Organic Trade Association’s report that showed U.S. organic sales posted a new record of $43.3 billion in 2015. This is an 11 percent increase from 2014’s record level and greatly exceeds the overall food market’s growth rate of 3 percent.

“America’s organic industry is booming, creating important opportunities for farmers and ranchers and adding to the vibrancy of rural America,” Vilsack said. “Under the Obama Administration, we’ve made transformative investments to help the organic sector thrive by making certification more attainable, providing more support for organic operations, and expanding international markets. As consumer demand continues to grow, USDA is here to support producers and help them access the hunger for American-grown organic products.”

Read Urban Ag News Issue 13

There are great articles in Urban Ag News Issue 13 including the conversion of a recreation center into an indoor urban farm near Richmond, Va. Also, find out how one U.S. company is looking to expand its vertical farm operations both domestically and internationally. It will even take you out of this world with an article about growing food in outer space.

Click here to go read Issue 13!

 

 

Posted on

April 2016 Newsletter

 



Hort Americas Corporate Newsletter  |  April 2016

 


Greetings {$firstname},
 

Rutgers University researchers are studying the viability of growing ethnic specialty crops in greenhouses and hoop houses for local and regional sales.

Meeting the demand for locally grown ethnic produce

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, up from $5 billion in 2008. To support this growing local market USDA has provided more than $1 billion in investments to over 40,000 local and regional food businesses and infrastructure projects since 2009.

Researchers at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J., have studied the potential market for ethnic specialty crops along the U.S. East Coast. Based on the results of their findings, the researchers are now looking at those crops which have the potential to be adapted to greenhouse and hoop house production.

Read More

LED toplighting provides efficient supplementing lighting for all types of crops

Philips GreenPower LED toplighting from Hort Americas provides efficient lighting for a wide variety of crops, including annuals, perennials, plugs, unrooted cuttings, herbs and high-wire vegetables. The toplighting is available in a variety of spectrums to support optimal plant growth.

The toplighting self-adjusts to a grower’s power grid in ranges of 200V-400V to provide more photosynthetic active radiation (PAR) per kilowatt hour. It offers the right levels of red, far red, and blue wavelengths that support quality growth.

The toplighting is passively cooled and doesn’t require a fan. Its slim profile doesn’t block natural light and doesn’t cast shadows over crops. It has no moving parts and the module can be power washed for easy cleaning and maintenance.

Philips GreenPower LED toplighting lasts more than twice as long as conventional horticultural lighting. It has a lifetime of 25,000 hours at 90 percent of output.

Contact Hort Americas for all your light planning needs.

Hort Americas offers a variety of substrates

A single-season Grodan Grotop Expert slab, available from Hort Americas, combines rapid rooting and initial growth with vegetative crop development. Its special fibrous structure promotes root penetration throughout the entire slab, resulting in a more uniform root distribution. The roots are always of excellent quality and color, laying the foundation for thriving plants well-equipped to resist disease pathogens.

The slab measures 20- x 7½- x 100-cm and is available in a 12 pack.

Hort Americas also offers Riococo Coir Growbags which contain a blend of 15 mm size coco peat and crushed coco chips. These selected raw materials are blended and compressed into an 8:1 ratio to make hydroponic coir slabs for the required size. The slabs are packed in UV-stabilized (for 2 years) co-extruded bags.

The Riococo 100 Growbag is recommended for tomatoes and cucumbers. The 200 bag is recommended for tomatoes, cucumbers and eggplant. The 300 bag is recommended for tomatoes and strawberries. Bag size is 100- x 15- x 10-cm. Custom sizes are also available.

Contact your Hort Americas sales rep for your specific growing media needs and for possible pricing breaks.

Number of U.S. organic producers continues to increase

USDA has announced a significant increase in the number of certified organic operations. New data indicates there are now 21,781 certified organic operations in the United States and 31,160 worldwide.

Data released by the Agricultural Marketing Service’s National Organic Program (NOP), indicates the number of domestic certified organic operations increased by almost 12 percent between 2014 and 2015, representing the highest growth rate since 2008 and an increase of nearly 300 percent since the count began in 2002. The total retail market for organic products in the United States has exceeded $39 billion and is over $75 billion worldwide.

Latest Horti-Facts Case Study: Urban Produce

If you haven’t read the latest Horti-Facts case study on LED grow lights from Hort Americas, then follow the link and learn how LEDs enable Urban Produce to vertically grow 16 acres of food crops. Urban Produce in Irvine, Calif. is growing USDA-certified organic microgreens, wheatgrass and herbs, which are sold to grocery stores and restaurants in California, Arizona and Nevada. The company is scheduled to start selling to multiple national supermarket chains during 2016. The company is currently using Philips GreenPower LED Production Modules.

Read Urban Ag News Issue 13

There are great articles in Urban Ag News Issue 13 including the conversion of a recreation center into an indoor urban farm near Richmond, Va. Also, find out how one U.S. company is looking to expand its vertical farm operations both domestically and internationally. It will even take you out of this world with an article about growing food in outer space.

Click here to go read Issue 13!

 

Posted on

March 2016 Newsletter

 



Hort Americas Corporate Newsletter  |  March 2016


Greetings,
 

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.

Can hydroponics be organic?

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 appointed a 16-member task force to look at hydroponic and aquaponic production practices and how they align with USDA organic regulations.

Gene Giacomelli, director of the Controlled Environment Agriculture Center (CEAC) at the University of Arizona, explained that regardless of whether plants are being grown using a traditional organic approach or one of the various combinations of hydroponics practices (soilless culture), that fundamentally all of these production methods are simply attempting to grow plants for their economic, nutritional and social values. The goal is to use the best available techniques to produce crops of highest quality with the minimum of resources.

“Regardless of the production method, plants must be provided with the environment they need to grow,” Giacomelli said. “The basics of growing plants besides light, carbon dioxide, water and the potential of their crop genetics, there are plant nutrients that have to be distributed to the plant roots.”

Read More

Grodan Cress Plate

The Grodan Cress Plate is the optimal substrate for the production of microgreens and bulk harvested leafy vegetables and culinary herbs in vertical farming production systems. These thin sheets of Grodan stone wool are specially developed for quick growing crops that need minimal substrate.

The plates deliver a uniform water level that provides quick and easy germination. The plates, which are the thinnest Grodan product on the market produce even crop development.

The plates are available in two sizes: 49.5 x 24 x 1 cm, which fits 10/20 trays and 60 x 50 x 1 cm. The 10/20 tray size plates are available 90 per carton; the 60 x 50 size plates come 50 sheets per carton.

— Product Special —

Hort Americas offers special pricing on its hydroponic and organic fertilizers


For a limited time Hort Americas is offering a 15 percent discount on two of its best-selling fertilizers.

Hort Americas 9-7-37 Hydroponic Fertilizer is specially formulated for growing leafy greens, culinary herbs, microgreens and other crops in hydroponic systems.

Hort Americas designed this water soluble fertilizer to deliver the essential nutrients for efficient uptake by the plants’ root system. It can be used as a constant feed or as a supplement.

Hort Americas developed this unique fertilizer in cooperation with CEA hydroponic specialists, academicians and researchers to meet the nutritional requirements of edible crops produced by hydroponic growers. Hort Americas recommends that hydroponic growers have their water tested by a professional water analysis laboratory to determine its nutrients, pH, EC and total alkalinity prior to using its Hydroponic Fertilizer.

The 25-pound bag of Hort Americas Hydroponic Fertilizer usually sells for $74.62. For a limited time it is available at the special price of $63.43.

Hort Americas is also promoting OMRI-listed Terra Genesis fertilizer in a 2½-gallon jug. This fertilizer was developed for recirculating nutrient film technique (NFT) production systems. It can be used for the production of lettuce and other leafy greens, basil and other herbs.

Terra Genesis is a fermented colloidal molasses formulation combined with a unique complex microbial package. It is derived from fermented sugarcane molasses and other plant extracts.

The 2½-gallon jug, which Hort Americas regularly sells for $52, is available while supplies last for $44.20.

Hydroponic grower considered an up-and-coming career

Whether you think hydroponics can be organic or not, hydroponic growers are expected to be one of five in-demand agriculture positions in the near future.

Kristine Penning, AgCareers.com creative marketing specialist, said hydroponics is being considered the farming production method of the future because of its “space-saving technology and relatively low cost when opposed to land expense and increased scarcity.”

The other jobs expected to be in demand include:
* Agriculture advocacy and literacy specialist
* Social media specialist
* Entomologist/pest control specialist
* Precision agriculture specialists

 — Upcoming Events —

We’ll be in Las Vegas, Nevada, on April 5-6 for the 4th Annual Indoor Ag-Con! Hope to see you there!

 

Posted on

February 2016 Newsletter

 



Hort Americas Corporate Newsletter  |  February 2016

 


Greetings,
 
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.

GAP-audited growers should have an easier time complying with food safety 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 at Michigan State University Extension, said there are growers who will be exempt from meeting the Act’s rules.

“There are qualifications for actually being covered by this rule,” Tocco said. “If growers are selling less than $25,000 a year gross, they do not have to comply with most of the production safety rules. Growers who are grossing more than $25,000 in produce sales, but less than $500,000 in produce sales, will have a staggered compliance.

“If a grower grossing less than $500,000 is selling more than half of what he is growing to local buyers or direct to consumers or within 275 miles of where the produce is grown, then the grower is in a category called qualified exempt. This means the grower theoretically doesn’t have to comply with the preponderance of the rule. If a grower is exempt, he has to prove that he is exempt. That burden of proof begins 60 days after the rule was published. So unlike all of the other segments of FSMA, if a grower is exempt, he needs to start to prove that he is exempt by Jan. 26, 2016.”

Read More

OMRI-listed Riococo coir plugs

Hort Americas is offering OMRI-listed Riococo Closed Bottom Organic Plugs. These organic coir plugs work in a wide variety of production systems, including 1020 trays, grow bags, nutrient film technique (NFT), raft systems, aquaponics and aeroponics. These biodegradable plugs are made from a 100 percent coir fiber compressed disc packed in biodegradable cellulose paper.

The plugs have excellent water holding capacity. Equal distribution of water throughout the plugs ensures optimum management of the air and water balance and the equal distribution of nutrient solutions.

Available in 32 mm and 42 mm sizes, the plugs are ideal for the production of leafy greens and culinary herbs.

— Product Special —

Hort Americas offers special pricing on OMRI-listed Terra Genesis organic fertilizer


For a limited time Hort Americas is promoting Terra Genesis fertilizer in a 2½-gallon jug. This OMRI-listed fertilizer was developed for recirculating nutrient film technique (NFT) production systems. It can be used for the production of lettuce and other leafy greens, basil and other herbs.

Terra Genesis is a fermented colloidal molasses formulation combined with a unique complex microbial package. It is derived from fermented sugarcane molasses and other plant extracts.

 

Hort Americas is offering $7 off the price of the 2½-gallon jug, regularly $52.

It is available while supplies last, for $45.

USDA conducting 2015 Certified Organic Survey

USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service is conducting the 2015 Certified Organic Survey to collect data on certified organic crops and livestock in the U.S. The survey is critical to helping determine the economic impact of certified organic agriculture production.

The survey is being mailed to all known organic farms in the U.S. Information is being collected on acreage, production and sales for a variety of certified organic crop and livestock commodities.

NASS is also collecting information about organic farmers’ production and marketing practices. Participants have been asked to respond by Feb. 19. After this date, NASS will follow up by mail, phone and personal interviews with producers who have not responded. Producers can return their forms by mail or complete the survey online at www.agcounts.usda.gov.

 — Upcoming Events —

Hort Americas general manager, Chris Higgins, will be speaking at the Hydroponic Greenhouse Crop Production & Engineering Design Short Course at the University of Arizona, March 20-25.

We’ll be in Las Vegas, Nevada April 5-6 for the 4th Annual Indoor Ag-Con! Hope to see you there!

 

Posted on

January 2016 Newsletter

 



Hort Americas Corporate Newsletter  |  January 2016


Greetings,
 

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.

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

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 that the land on which the 65-year-old W.D. Holley Plant Environment Research Center resided was the perfect location for the new stadium.

“The old horticulture facility, which had been built in 1949, was considered a hot property by school officials,” said Steve Newman, who is greenhouse crops extension specialist and professor of floriculture. “To replace the old site, the university provided the department with a new $7.5 million 27,000-square-foot research and teaching facility. There is also a 3-acre outdoor area for plant trials.

“The horticulture center was built in eight months. The university facilities team that I worked with to design and build the center was awesome.”

Read More

LED lights for multiple uses, crops

Hort Americas offers several different models of Philips LED lighting that have application to greenhouse and controlled environment agriculture production of ornamental and vegetable crops.

Philips GreenPower LED Flowering Lamps
are an energy saving alternative for extending day length or night interruption. The lamp has been specially developed as a replacement for the incandescent bulbs to extend day length to control flowering or to break the winter dormancy. The lamps have a standard E27 fitting and are suitable for direct replacement of incandescent bulbs in your existing installation, without the need for any modifications to the installation.

Philips GreenPower LED Production Modules
can be used in new installations, as replacements for fluorescent lamps or as an energy-efficient supplement to natural daylight. The modules can be installed in greenhouses and in controlled environment agriculture set ups, including vertical farming, which are not suited to conventional lighting. The modules produce less heat radiation and are ideal for multilayer installations. The modules offer energy savings of up to 75 percent compared to fluorescent tubes. The modules are available in a variety of light spectrums.

— PRODUCT SPECIAL —

Hort Americas Introduces OMRI-Certified Plug for Hydroponics

Hort Americas offers several Riococo coir substrate products. For a limited time Hort Americas is promoting the OMRI-certified Riococo Closed Bottom Organic Plugs with a special offer. These organic coir plugs work in a wide variety of production systems, including 1020 trays, grow bags, nutrient film technique (NFT), raft systems, aquaponics and aeroponics. Available in 32 mm and 42 mm sizes, the plugs are ideal for the production of leafy greens and culinary herbs.

Buy 10 cases of plugs and receive one case FREE right now.

This SPECIAL OFFER is available while supplies last.

This offer is only available by phone; call 469-532-2383.

32 mm (2,500 plugs/case) – $117.29/case
42 mm (1,000 plugs/case) – $70.86/case

USDA summary confirms pesticide residues on U.S. food are at safe levels

USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service has released data from the 2014 Pesticide DataProgram (PDP) Annual Summary. The summary confirms that overall pesticide chemical residues found on the foods tested are at levels below the tolerances established by EPA and do not pose a safety concern.

The 2014 PDP summary shows that over 99 percent of the products sampled through PDP had residues below EPA tolerances. Residues exceeding the tolerance were detected in 0.36 percent of the samples tested.

The PDP pesticide residue results are reported to Food and Drug Administration and EPA through monthly reports. In instances where a PDP finding may pose a safety risk, FDA and EPA are immediately notified. EPA has determined the extremely low levels of those residues are not a food safety risk, and the presence of such residues does not pose a safety concern.

Each year, USDA and EPA work together to identify foods to be tested on a rotating basis. In 2014, surveys were conducted on a variety of foods including fresh and processed fruits and vegetables, oats, rice, infant formula and salmon.

Photo by Tim McCabe

Webinar on “Managing Nutrient Solutions for Hydroponic Leafy Greens and Herbs”

If you missed the e-GRO webinar “Managing Nutrient Solutions for Hydroponic Leafy Greens and Herbs” on Jan. 22, 2016, which was sponsored by Hort Americas, you can still view the webinar on YouTube.

Hydroponic greens and herbs are produced in systems with recirculating nutrient solutions. In order to maintain productive and quality crops, it is important to know how to properly maintain the nutrient solutions. Dr. Chris Currey at Iowa State University and Dr. Neil Mattson at Cornell University discuss strategies for managing pH and EC, formulating nutrient solutions and identifying common nutrient disorders.

Part 1: Common production systems, pH and EC management
Presented by Dr. Chris Currey, Iowa State University

Part 2: Nutrient solution recipes, common nutrient disorders
Present by Dr. Neil Mattson, Cornell University

 

 

Posted on

December 2015 Newsletter

 

Newsletter-header-Christmas

Hort Americas Corporate Newsletter  |  December 2015


Greetings,

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.”

Read More
_______________________________________

Pipe rail trolley

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.

_______________________________________

 

Posted on

November 2015 Newsletter

 

Newsletter-header-autumn

Hort Americas Corporate Newsletter  |  November 2015

 


Greetings,
 

Although greenhouse and controlled environment agriculture growers may be exempt from implementing Food Safety Modernization Act rules, produce buyers may make compliance mandatory.

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

On Nov. 13, 2015, U.S. Food and Drug Administration finalized three rules of the Food Safety Modernization Act. The purpose of FSMA, according to a FDA press release is to prevent foodborne illness “that, for the first time, establish enforceable safety standards for produce farms and makes importers accountable for verifying that imported food meets U.S. safety standards.” FDA said FSMA’s “final rules will help produce farmers and food importers take steps to prevent problems before they occur.”

Read More

Coir substrates

Coir is a natural, renewable resource produced from mature coconut husks. Coir fiber is a coarse material obtained from the husk surrounding the coconut seed.
RIOCOCO coir is lightweight and can be compressed into a variety of shapes. It decomposes slowly due to its high lignin content. It is uniform and consistent because of the production process that uses various sieving systems and mixes different particle grades.
RIOCOCO offers a variety of coir products that can be used for the propagation and production of ornamental and vegetable crops in greenhouses and in the field. Available from Hort Americas, growers can choose from a variety of coir products, including grow bags, propagation blocks, discs and chips.

U.S. organic farm sales up 72%


The results of the 2014 Organic Survey released by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service showed that 14,093 organic farms in the United States sold $5.5 billion of organic products in 2014. This is a 72 percent increase since 2008. The total number of organic farms was fewer than in 2008, when a similar survey identified 14,540 farms. The 2014 Organic Survey follows the 2012 Census of Agriculture, which reported that total organic product sales by farms in the United States increased 83 percent between 2007 and 2012.

California and Wisconsin are the only states with more than a thousand organic farms. Large numbers of organic farms are also found in northwestern, north central and northeastern states. Southeastern states have fewer organic farms. The total number of organic farms was fewer than in 2008, when a similar survey identified 14,540 such farms.

Sales of organic lettuce accounted for $264 million ranking it as the number 4 commodity, behind milk ($1.08 billion), eggs ($420 million) and broiler chickens ($372 million). Vegetables grown under protected production accounted for $76 million in sales.

In 2014, 80 percent of the organic products were sold within less than 500 miles from their production site. This compares to 74 percent in 2008. In 2014, 46 percent were sold within 100 miles and 34 percent were sold within 101-499 miles.

Of the total sales, 78 percent went to wholesale markets, including buyers for supermarkets, processors, distributors, packers and cooperatives. Sixty percent of organic growers sold  products to wholesale markets.

The two largest expenses for organic production were for hired labor and feed, which together were 46 percent of production expenses.

 

Posted on

October 2015 Newsletter

 



Hort Americas Corporate Newsletter  |  October 2015

 


Greetings,
 

Growers can reduce the chance of disease infestation on greenhouse vegetable crops by incorporating a strict sanitation program and minimizing plant exposure to moisture.

Producers of greenhouse food crops can’t be sloppy growers

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 can walk into a greenhouse head house and predict how many disease problems I’m going to find just by what I see in the head house area. Is it clean? Is it neat and orderly? Sanitation is a mindset. It either carries through from the head house to the growing areas or it doesn’t.”

Read More

Energy-efficient TLED lamps replace fluorescent lights

Philips’ GreenPower TLED InstantFit is an effective and efficient alternative to traditional fluorescent lamps, delivering energy savings up to 45 percent compared to fluorescent lighting. Available from Hort Americas, GreenPower TLEDs are available in two different light recipes: deep red/white and deep red/white/far red.

GreenPower TLED InstantFit lamps are compatible with Instant Start Ballasts. GreenPower TLEDs allow growers to make direct replacement of existing T8 fluorescents with instant-start ballasts.

Since LEDs produce less heat than conventional lamps, cooling costs are reduced with GreenPower TLEDs. Less heat radiation allows growers to light closer to the plants, giving them the option of producing more layers on the same surface area. GreenPower TLEDs are a reliable and safe solution for tissue culture growers requiring light levels of up to 100 μmol in relatively low-humidity environments.

The 14.5-watt GreenPower TLED has a 25,000 hour lifetime reducing the need to replace bulbs as often.

USDA awards $113 million to support specialty crop opportunities

USDA has awarded more than $113 million in program grants to support producers of vegetable, nursery, fruit and tree nut crops through research, agricultural extension activities and programs to increase demand and address the needs of the U.S. specialty crop industry.

This program is part of a USDA-wide effort supporting President Obama’s commitment to strengthening local and regional food systems. The grants are administered by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service and USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

“Increasing market opportunities for local food producers is a sound investment in America’s rural economies, while also increasing access to healthy food for our nation’s families,” said USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. “These investments will support local and regional markets, and improve access to healthy food for millions of children and supply thousands of farmers markets, restaurants and other businesses with fresh, high-quality fruits and vegetables. The grants also help growers solve technology needs or make better informed decisions on profitability and sustainability, leading to stronger rural American communities and businesses.”

The Tour de Fresh 2015 was an intense ride, successful at putting salad bars in schools

After four days of intense and strenuous riding through the Blue Ridge Mountains all the way to Atlanta, Ga., the Tour de Fresh is complete. As a result of the ride, many public schools across the country will have fresh salad bars installed in their cafeterias.

Thank you for your support and donations. A special thanks to Village Farms,Riococo,Houweling’s Tomatoes,Grodan, Age Old Organics, UrbanAgNews.com for their sponsorship of Hort Americas’ rider Chris Higgins, General Manager. All of our efforts will directly benefit the Earl Nance Sr. Elementary School in the St. Louis Public School system.

Click to learn more about the Univ. of Arizona Short Course

 

Posted on

September 2015 Newsletter

 



Hort Americas Corporate Newsletter  |  September 2015

 


Greetings,
 

Greenhouse ornamental plant growers adding edible crops to their product mix should consider incorporating biological controls into their integrated pest management program.

Consider using biological controls if adding edibles to your greenhouse crop mix

An increasing number of ornamental plant growers are looking to take advantage of the growing demand for locally produced edible crops. Whether it’s for sales in their own garden centers, roadside stands, farmers markets, grocery stores and restaurants, the demand for locally-grown produce continues to increase.

Before starting to produce edibles, ornamental growers should thoroughly investigate how they’re going to produce and market their crops, including pest and disease management.

“There are less active ingredients registered for insect and disease control on vegetable crops than for ornamentals,” said Ron Valentin, technical lead at Syngenta Bioline. “It would be difficult for greenhouse growers to do vegetable production without the use of biological controls.”

Read More

Hort Americas Hydroponic Fertilizer Special Offer

Hort Americas is pleased to announce the release of its new Hort Americas 9-7-37 Hydroponic Fertilizer. This water-soluble fertilizer is specially formulated for growing leafy greens, culinary herbs, microgreens and other crops in hydroponic production systems. Hort Americas has formulated this fertilizer to deliver the essential nutrients for optimum uptake by plant root systems. It can be used as a constant or supplement feed.


While supplies last, during September, Hort Americas will be sending a free 5 lb. bag of Hydroponic Fertilizer with any Hort Americas purchase of at least $300. When placing your order, reference Offer Code: HAFERT15 at checkout, either at Hort Americas’ online store or when you place an order with your Hort Americas customer service representative.

Will local food sales exceed those for organic foods?

A Packaged Facts National Consumer Survey published in “Shopping for Local Foods in the U.S.” in Nov. 2014 found that 53 percent of respondents seek out locally grown or locally produced food. Major reasons for purchasing locally grown food include:

Sixty percent of consumers purchase local products because the products are fresher.

Fifty-two percent of consumers buy local products to support local businesses.

Forty-four percent of consumers say local products taste better.

Large national and regional retailers looking to tap into the local foods trend are adding more local products and promoting their efforts to offer shoppers these products. Walmart, Kroger, Safeway and Meijer have identified local foods as one of their priorities. The Packaged Facts’ survey found that more than two out of three consumers who buy locally grown or locally produced foods do so in supermarkets/grocery stores. Nearly half of consumers purchase local products at farmers’ markets.

Hort Americas to sponsor, participate in Tour de Fresh 2015

This year Hort Americas’ efforts with the Tour de Fresh, Oct 19-22,2015, are also being supported by Village Farms, Riococo, Houweling’s Tomatoes, Grodan, Age Old Organics, UrbanAgNews.com as well countless other friends and family. All of our efforts will directly benefit the Earl Nance Sr. Elementary School in the St. Louis Public School system.

 

 

Posted on

August 2015 Newsletter

 



Hort Americas Corporate Newsletter  |  August 2015

 


Greetings,
 

As pressure on fresh water supplies increases, more growers will look at recycling their water. Recycling water can add a whole range of challenges that growers may not have had to deal with before. Speakers at this year’s Cultivate’15 discussed some of the issues growers may face when recirculating and treating irrigation water.

Water quality, treatments are focus of Cultivate’15 educational sessions

As more growers look to save water by collecting irrigation runoff and recirculating their water, the chance for issues with soluble salts, pH and disease pathogens can be expected to increase. Plant pathologist Ann Chase at Chase Agricultural Consulting told Cultivate’15 attendees that use of automatic watering systems has increased watering efficiency, but in some cases, these systems have also led to less monitoring of crops on a daily basis. She said algae tend to be the biggest problem with recirculating water. She said the optimum conditions for growing greenhouse crops, including warm temperatures, high humidity and applying fertilizer in irrigation water, are the same conditions that allow algae to thrive in many areas of a greenhouse.

Read More

Hort Americas introduces its new hydroponic fertilizer

In its efforts to fuel progress in controlled environment agriculture (CEA), Hort Americas is now offering its new 9-7-37 Hydroponic Fertilizer. Hort Americas developed this unique fertilizer in cooperation with CEA hydroponic specialists, academicians and researchers to meet the nutritional requirements of edible crops produced by hydroponic growers. Hort Americas recommends that hydroponic growers have their water tested by a professional water analysis laboratory to determine its nutrients, pH, EC and total alkalinity prior to using its 9-7-37 Hydroponic Fertilizer.

2015 drought costs California agriculture nearly $2 billion, loss of 10,000 jobs

According to the “Economic Analysis of the 2015 Drought for California Agriculture,” the state’s agricultural economy will lose about $1.8 billion and 10,100 seasonal jobs because of the drought. The UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences’ report indicates California’s ag industry overall remains robust. The state’s ag economy continues to grow in this fourth year of severe drought. This is due mostly to the state’s vast but declining groundwater reserves, which will offset about 70 percent of the surface water shortage this year. The loss of about 10,100 seasonal jobs directly related to farm production, compares with the 2014 drought estimate of 7,500 job losses. When the effects of farm losses on other economic sectors are considered, the 2015 drought impact on employment more than doubles to 21,000 lost jobs.

Hort Americas to sponsor, participate in Tour de Fresh 2015

Hort Americas is a proud sponsor (and rider participant) of the Tour de Fresh. This one-of-a-kind collaborative event unites the most significant brands and influencers in the fresh produce industry for a four-day cycling event that raises funds to benefit the Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools campaign. The inaugural 2014 event raised over $142,000 and placed over 40 salads bars in communities in 11 states, including California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Texas, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia.

The goal of Tour de Fresh 2015 and its participants is to privately finance 100+ new salad bars in school districts across the country. At a cost of less than $3,000 per salad bar per school, sponsors and participants strongly believe that providing healthy eating opportunities for school children should be a requirement and is the foundation of creating positive change for our future.

This year Hort Americas is riding for the St Louis Public School system and for the first time we are providing some of our closest partners the opportunity to be part of the ride.

If you would like to donate to the Tour de Fresh 2015 cause please follow this link: https://www.crowdrise.com/2015tourdefresh/fundraiser/HortAmericas

Hort Americas is proud to sponsor Greenhouse Solutions GrowPro Series
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania  |  September 15-17, 2015

 

Posted on

July 2015 Newsletter

 



Hort Americas Corporate Newsletter  |  July 2015

 


Greetings,
 

Proper processing of coir to lower its natural high salts level should eliminate the need to buffer it with calcium nitrate.

Buffering coir not necessary if it’s processed properly

Coir has become a major component of both greenhouse vegetable and container crop production. It can be used by itself, for instance in grow bags, slabs and propagation cubes, or it can be used in growing mixes with other components like sphagnum peat, perlite and bark.

Dr. Hugh Poole, international agricultural consultant, said coconut coir is initially high in sodium, potassium and chloride salts.

“These salts are relatively soluble and are not totally bound by the coir so they are easily leached,” Poole said. “Most coir producers use rain water for most of the year to remove the salts. If the EC (electrical conductivity) level is below 1.0 milliSiemens per centimeter (mS/cm), growers should not have to leach the coir. In most cases, the coir producers have already leached the coir for the growers. It should be ready to use. If the salts level is high, then the coir producer has not done its job. A producer should be able to provide growers with the coir’s EC value, its pH value and other information, including percent moisture, as well.”
Read More

“Tomato Greenhouse Roadmap” is guide book to setting up successful greenhouse business

The “Tomato Greenhouse Roadmap” from Hort Americas provides the essentials one needs to make informed decisions to build a profitable and successful commercial greenhouse business. This 123-page guide is designed for new greenhouse growers, farmers and investors interested in becoming involved in controlled environment agriculture and greenhouse tomato production.The Roadmap presents specific industry terminology, production concepts and cultivation options that must be understood in order to make important investment decisions.

The Roadmap is not a greenhouse tomato production guide. It does include key worksheets and resources that will assist in organizing and planning a professional hydroponic or urban greenhouse tomato operation. In addition to the resources provided by the Roadmap, online supplemental information will be available after the guide is purchased. This updated information will be posted on a special website and only available to people who have purchased this unique eBook.

Those registering for the AmericanHort GrowPro Series: Greenhouse Solutions on Food Production, will receive a free copy of this $99 publication. The conference will be held Sept. 15-17, 2015, in Pittsburgh, Pa. Hort Americas is the Key Sponsor for this AmericanHort Experience.

Organic agriculture may not provide the windfall some producers expect

In last month’s Hort Americas newsletter we reported on a study conducted by Washington State University researchers who had determined that organic agriculture is more profitable for growers than conventional agriculture. The study, which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, showed that the profit margins for organic agriculture were significantly greater than for conventional agriculture.

However, some producers are finding that switching from conventional to organic practices is not leading to the higher profits they were expecting. The costs and time associated with changing production practices, trying to become certified and maintaining that certification have caused some producers to abandon their efforts to grow organically.

Hort Americas is proud to sponsor Greenhouse Solutions GrowPro Series
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania  |  September 15-17, 2015
The first 100 people to register will receive a free copy of the book
“Tomato Greenhouse Roadmap”
This 123-page guide is designed for new greenhouse growers, farmers and investors interested in becoming involved in controlled environment agriculture and greenhouse tomato production.

 

Posted on

June 2015 Newsletter

 

Hort Americas Cultivate’15 Email updates 2 of 2

Greetings,

Here’s a preview of some of the great products you’ll see at Hort America’ booth during Cultivate’15.  Stop by and see us at booth #946.  To receive live updates from Cultivate’15, please follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Hort Americas is an innovative leader in North America’s controlled environment agriculture (CEA) industry. Hort Americas strives to innovate agriculture via premium technical support, professional salesmanship, unmatched customer service and outstanding products to our
customers in the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. In our efforts to fuel progress in CEA, we are proud to release Hort Americas Hydroponic Fertilizer.
Hort Americas has developed this unique fertilizer in cooperation with CEA hydroponic specialists, academicians and researchers to meet the nutritional needs of crops produced by hydroponic leafy green growers.

Looking for other hydroponic supplies?
Hort Americas offers a wide variety of hydroponic products from various suppliers.

_________________________________
Hort Americas is excited to now offer financing through SparkFund!
_________________________________
Mapping out your Cultivate’15 sessions?  Stop by and see us at booth #946 for suggestions.
 

Sincerely,

 

Posted on

June 2015 Cultivate Newsletter

 

Hort Americas Cultivate’15 Email updates 1 of 2

Dear {$firstname},

Looking for products for commercial hydroponics, vertical farming, controlled agriculture environments or other innovative growing systems? Stop by and see the staff of Hort Americas during Cultivate’15 at Booth No. 946. To receive live updates from Cultivate’15 in Columbus, Ohio, July 11-14, 2015, please follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Broaden Your Horizons 

Hort Americas suggests sitting in on these educational sessions from these industry
professionals. They will be providing some that provide excellent information to our
grower network at Cultivate’15.

Greenhouse Learning Tour (Add-on Fee) #GH121
Roberto Lopez, PhD, Purdue University
Sometimes, it helps to see what others are doing and scout out the potential of new strategies and technologies. Join us for the Greenhouse Learning Tour where you will be exposed to successful greenhouse operations that have upped their game and are playing smart.
Saturday, July 11
8:00 a.m. – 3:00p.m.
Ballroom 1

Media Prep for Container-Grown Crops
Brian E. Jackson, PhD, North Carolina State University
Growing media is much more than just anchorage for container-grown nursery plants. It’s the foundation for root health and the support for quality plants.
Saturday, July 11
9:00 a.m.-10:15 p.m.
Room E171

Attracting the Next Generation of Industry Professionals
Brian E. Jackson, PhD, North Carolina State University
Enrollment in college horticulture programs is dropping and university programs are disappearing. Much of this can be attributed to the perception among potential students and their parents that horticulture means a low-pay, low-skill, no-education-needed, dead-end career.
Saturday, July 11
2:30-3:30 p.m.
Room E171

LED Lighting – What Does the Future Hold?
Erik D. Runkle, PhD, Michigan State University

LED lighting has been a supporting player for the latest trends, and it’s ready to jump to first string. Learn about the crop growth and physiology benefits offered by LEDs and where their use makes economic “cents”today and in the future.
Saturday, July 11
2:30-3:30 p.m.
Terrace Ballroom 4

What’s Tending: Indoor Mircogreen Propagation
Roberto Lopez, PhD, Purdue University
Microgreens, with their short production time and high potential return, can be grown profitably indoors under sole-source lighting (such as LEDs).
Sunday, July 12
10:30 – 10:50 a.m.
Location: Knowledge Center

Best Media for Hydroponic Greens Products
Michael Evans, PhD, University of Arkansas
Research can be a game changer. Join Michael as he discusses the latest research on various types of rooting cubes used for lettuce production.
Sunday, July 12
2:45 – 3:15 p.m.
Location: Live For Growers

Sincerely,


Urban Ag News eMagazine Issue 10 is now live!

This issue includes:
Village Farms Uses Technology to Increase Efficiency and Produce Better Crops
Florida’s Protected Agriculture Industry Continues to Expand
Are You Really Ready to Start Your Urban Farm Operation?
Deciding Which Strawberry Varieties to Grow in Greenhouse Production Systems
NY SunWorks Youth Conference

Click here to check it out!