tools & models (4)

19 Jul 2017

Yield, quality and profitability of sensor‑controlled irrigation: a case study of snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus L.) production

Saavoss, M., Belayneh, B., Lea‑Cox, J., Lichtenberg, E. (University of Maryland), Majsztrik, J. (Clemson University)

On-farm research has found a number of advantages of sensor-based irrigation compared to current irrigation practices including reduced water application, disease incidence, production time and labor, and increased profitability. We examined the effects of sensor-based irrigation in a commercial greenhouse producing cut-flower snapdragons. We calculated changes in yield, production time, quality, cost, revenue and profit, using 3 years of data before and after implementation of sensor irrigation networks.  Sensor-based irrigation increased revenue by 62% and profit by 65% per year. Sensor-based irrigation was also associated with increases in the quality and the number of stems harvested per crop.

See the article in the link bellow

25 Apr 2017

A New Way to Measure Electrical Conductivity

John Lea-Cox (University of Maryland)

Electrical conductivity is vital to maintain adequate plant nutrition.  Learn how to measure EC in subtrates with real-time output.  Some imporant considerations are the sensor placement, and understanding the difference between bulk EC vs. pore water EC.  See the article in the link bellow for an easy and cost-effective method for measuring EC.

1 May 2016

Pinpoint Toxicity in Your Pond Water

Fisher, P.R. (University of Florida)

A case study for a coastal Florida producer using pond water for irrigation.  The pond water passed through a sand filter and chlorination treatment.  The plants showed pitting and bronzing on the foliage and stunted growth.  This article provides trouble shooting tips and tools used to calculate chlorination dosage.

Greenhouse Grower May 2016 (3754 KB)

1 Apr 2016

Using a Dehydrated Agar to Estimate Microbial Water Quality for Horticulture Irrigation

Meador, D.P. (Center for Applied Horticulture Research), Fisher, P.R., Guy, C.L., Harmon, P.F., Peres, N.A., and Teplitski, M. (University of Florida)

Petrifilms can be used as an onsite water quality tool to quantify bacteria density in irrigation water.  High bacteria density can clog drip and mist emitters.

Journal of Environmental Quality 45(4) 2016

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Description of research activities

A national team of scientists is working to encourage use of alternative water resources by the nation’s billion-dollar nursery and floriculture industry has been awarded funds for the first year of an $8.7 million, five year US Department of Agriculture – National Institute of Food and Agriculture –Specialty Crop Research Initiative competitive grant.

The team will develop and apply systems-based solutions to assist grower decision making by providing science-based information to increase use of recycled water.  This award from the NIFA’s Specialty Crop Research Initiative is managed by Project Director Sarah White of Clemson University.  She leads a group of 21 scientists from nine U.S. institutions.

Entitled “Clean WateR3 - Reduce, Remediate, Recycle – Enhancing Alternative Water Resources Availability and Use to Increase Profitability in Specialty Crops”, the Clean WateR3 team will assist the grower decision-making process by providing science-based information on nutrient, pathogen, and pesticide fate in recycled water both before and after treatment, average cost and return-on investment of technologies examined, and model-derived, site specific recommendations for water management.  The trans-disciplinary Clean WateR3 team will develop these systems-based solutions by integrating sociological, economic, modeling, and biological data into a user-friendly decision-support system intended to inform and direct our stakeholders’ water management decision-making process.

The Clean WateR3 grant team is working with a stakeholder group of greenhouse and nursery growers throughout the United States.

For example, at the University of Florida graduate student George Grant is collecting data on removal of paclobutrazol, a highly persistent plant growth regulator chemical, from recirculated water using granular activated carbon (GAC) filters. This is being done in both research greenhouses and in a commercial site. The GAC filters can remove more than 90% of chemical residues, and are proving to be a cost-effective treatment method.