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23 Dec 2017

Modeling Global Warming Potential, Variable Costs, and Water Use of Young Plant Production System Components Using Life Cycle Assessment

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

The components for two production systems for young foliage plants in 72-count propagation trays were analyzed using life cycle assessment (LCA) procedures. System A was modeled as a gutter-connected, rounded-arch greenhouse without a ridge vent and covered with double-layer polyethylene and plants were fertigated through sprinklers on stationary benches.  System B was modeled as a more modern gutter-connected, Dutch-style greenhouse using natural ventilation, and moveable, ebb-flood production tables. Generally, the more modern greenhouse in System B was more efficient in terms of space utilization for production, heating and cooling, fertilization, and water use. While overhead costs were not measured, these differences in efficiency would also help to offset any increases in overhead costs per square foot associated with higher-cost, more modern greenhouse facilities.

HortScience 52 2017 (358 KB)

7 Dec 2017

Successful Sanitation

Majsztrik, J. and Sarah A. White (Clemson University)

Typically, the first step in irrigation water treatment is physical removal of larger particles such as sediment, substrate material and organic matter. But rapid sand, mesh filters, etc. are not able to remove biological contaminants such plant diseases. Chemical disinfection is a safe and effective way to ensure removal of plant disease organisms from irrigation water. Chemical treatment efficacy declines if high levels of organic matter are present in water, making it necessary to increase the concentrations of chemicals needed to treat the same volume of water.  Keep reading to find out more about chemical treatment of irrigation water.

See the link bellow

7 Dec 2017

Water Quality Quest

Majsztrik, J. and Sarah A. White (Clemson University)

Is my water clean enough or will it harm my plants? The question is simple the answer is not. Activated carbon and membrane filters are tools worth considering if you recycle water or have problems with water quality. If you recycle water, routinely spray PGRs, or non-target crops at your operation are stunted or deformed, you may have residual chemicals in your recycled water that could be reducing plant quality and thus hurting your bottom line. Learn more about these filters, and how to keep your plants safe from disease and chemicals that may be spread through recycled irrigation water.

See the link bellow

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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.