Most recent

4 Aug 2017

Comparison of Three Production Scenarios for Buxus microphylla var. japonica ‘Green Beauty’ Marketed in a No. 3 Container on the West Coast Using Life Cycle Assessment

Ingram, D.L., Knight, J. (University of Kentucky), Hall, C.R. (Texas A&M)

The impact of west coast production scenarios for boxwood marketed in a #3 container on carbon footprint (CF; kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalents (kg CO2e)) and variable costs at the nursery gate for Scenario A (propagation to #1 to #3 container) was 2.198 kg CO2e with variable costs of $4.043.  Scenario B (propagation to field to #3 container) was a CF of 1.717 kg CO2e with variable costs of $2.880 and take a year longer in production than the other two models.  The CF of Scenario C (propagation to #1 to #2 to #3 containers) would be 3.364 kg CO2e with variable costs of $5.733. Containers, transplants/transplanting, irrigation, and fertilization accounted for the greatest portion of CF and variable costs in each scenario.  

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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.

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7 Jun 2017

First Report of Pythium aphanidermatum Causing Root Rot and Decline of Poinsettia in Maryland

Del Castillo Múnera, J. (University of Maryland) and C.L. Swett (University of California, Davis)

The publication is one of the outcomes from the statewide monitoring of water-borne oomycetes to provide critical control point assessment to nursery producers. Pythium aphanidermatum was isolated from poinsettia exhibiting root rot symptoms.  Healthy poinsettia were inoculated in a greenhouse experiment with isolates recovered from the root rot resulted in wilting and root rot symptoms.  P. aphanidermatum was recovered, confirming that it is a poinsettia pathogen in Maryland.  This new information enables regional diagnosticians and crop advisors to provide more accurate information to producers, and facilitates research efforts to improve root disease management.

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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.