conserve water (18)

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 May 2017

Diffusing Water Conservation and Treatment Technologies to Nursery and Greenhouse Growers

Lamm, A.J., Warner, L.A., Taylor, M.R., Martin, E.T., Fisher, P. (University of Florida), White, S. (Clemson University)

In-depth interviews were conducted with 24 operators across the U.S. to identify their perceptions of new water-saving technologies and treatments. The findings revealed growers are aware of water-saving technologies and the rate of adoption depends on a variety of factors including: perceived cost, lack of ability of their workforce to use the new technology due to its complexity, and belief that their product will be worth more if it is grown in an environmentally-friendly manner. Barriers to adoption included the high cost of replacing equipment, incompatibility with existing systems, and the perception that new technologies do not fit in with the traditional hands-on approach to horticulture. We need to develop materials that highlight the economic benefit of adoption and cost recovery, YouTube videos that reduce issues with perceived complexity should also be developed for growers so they can use them with their workers.

Journal of International Agriculture and Extension Education April 2017 (639 KB)

22 Mar 2017

Water Use and Treatment in Container-Grown Specialty Crop Production: A Review

Majsztrik, J.C., White, S.A., Hitchcock, D.R., (Clemson University), Fernandez, T.R. (Michigan State University, Fisher P.R. (University of Florida), Lea-Cox, J. (University of Maryland), Owen, J.S.Jr. (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University) , Oki, L.R. (University of California Davis)

Water quality and water quantity are major concerns for growers around the world.  There are number of factors that can impact irrigation water for plant production including policy, changing weather patterns, aquifer depletion, and saltwater intrusion.  This article discusses a number of aspects of water use, capture, remediation, and reuse for specialty crop production.  Various techniques and equipment for the removal of sediment, pathogens, agrichemicals and other contaminants are discussed.  Remediation technologies reviewed include filtration (for example: rapid sand, slow sand, membranes, and filter socks), activated carbon, disinfection (chlorine, ozonation, UV), and biological control (constructed wetlands, vegetated buffers, bioreactors).

See the article in 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.