GrowON 2022 Webinar Series: Alternative Ways of Heating Greenhouses

Reposted from the ONgreenhousevegetable blog.

Who:

David Arkell, President and CEO, 360 Energy

Jordan Kearns, Founder, Medley Thermal

Muhammed Murad, General Manager, Phoenix Solar Thermal

Date and Time:

May 26, 2022, 12:00–1:00 PM EST

Zoom Registration:

https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_4uUK9DMMSN2YgWqM-lWw7g

Description:

This GrowON webinar will present a panel of experts in energy and heating technologies discussing alternative ways of heating greenhouses. It will include 360 Energy discussing natural gas pricing trends, Medley Thermal describing their natural gas-electricity hybrid boilers, and Phoenix Solar Thermal introducing their solar-powered technology used to heat buildings using hot water and steam that can be used to supplement heat generated by existing natural gas boilers.

Contact:

Dr. Fadi Al-Daoud, Greenhouse Vegetable Specialist, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, email: fadi.al-daoud@ontario.ca

Employment Standards Webinar with the Ministry of Labour – April 12th

OMAFRA and the Ministry of Labour are hosting a webinar on Employment Standards in the Agricultural Sector on April 12th from 10am- 12pm.

The session will provide an overview of:

  • Employer obligations under the Employment Standards Act (ESA)
  • Rights of employees, including Temporary Foreign Workers, under the ESA
  • Exemptions and Exceptions relating to the agricultural sector
  • Temporary Help Agencies, placement employees, and the client business – what are their roles?
  • Obligations relating to COVID-19 and the ESA
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Improperly ventilated heaters & ethylene damage

Spring is almost here…we hope! We’re reposting this article on poor air quality damage on spring bedding crops as we’ve seen some damage again this year.  Symptoms, solutions and preventative measures are listed below. If you think you have a problem, please contact a licensed contractor to inspect your heating system.

Natural gas and propane are popular choices when it comes to heating a greenhouse.  The products of burning fuel are carbon dioxide (CO2) and water (H20); both compounds we know are good for your plants.  However, combustion is often (if not always) incomplete, and impurities such as carbon monoxide (CO), sulfur dioxide (SO2) and ethylene (C2H4) are also released leading to poor air quality if your heater is not properly vented.

Typically symptoms from ethylene damage and sulfur dioxide damage can been seen fairly quickly after exposure.

Figure 1. Signs of ethylene damage include leaf curling and epinasty, seen here in A) New Guinea Impatiens and B) lettuce seedlings.

In the short term (a few hours to a few days), ethylene damage results in leaf curling, epinasty (leaves bending downwards from the petiole) and flower drop.  If the stress continues over a longer period (several days to a week or more), plants can take a long time to flower, or not flower at all.  Ethylene levels as low as 0.01 parts per million (ppm) can create symptoms in sensitive species. Levels are usually highest near the heater and can be diluted by air circulation.

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COVID-19 Updates with WSIB Webinar – March 22nd

OMAFRA and WSIB are hosting a webinar on Tuesday, March 22, 2022 at 12:00PM to provide information that will help protect workers and assist agri-food stakeholders throughout the changing pandemic.  The session will provide an overview of:

  • A review on reporting claims
  • A reviews on coverage for Temporary Foreign Workers
  • Updates on COVID-19 and WSIB
  • Online Services for Businesses

There will also be time for questions and discussion.

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Upcoming Webinar: Making Sense of Lighting During Propagation

Its a busy time in the greenhouse, but we hope you’ll make some time to listen to our next webinar, focused on using supplemental lighting in greenhouse propagation. Dr. Erik Runkle and Dr. Roberto Lopez from Michigan State University, join us to share their vast knowledge on this topic. Check out the details below, and don’t forget to register!

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Upcoming Webinar – PRIVA’s BioLogics for Plant Growth

This post, authored by Dr. Fadi Al-Daoud, has been reposted from the Ontario Greenhouse Vegetables Blog.

The first installment of the OMAFRA Controlled Environment Agriculture Webinar Series is here! Join us on Thursday January 20th at noon to hear PRIVA’s Peter Kamp talk about a growing strategy that takes transpiration, photosynthesis and the greenhouse climate into consideration. This talk will be of interest to greenhouse vegetable and ornamental growers. Find all the details below and make sure to register in advance!

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COVID-19 Information for Employers

If you employ Temporary Foreign Workers in your greenhouse this post is for you! Read on for important information and resources.

Firstly, OMAFRA has established a voluntary registry to distribute important COVID-19 information to employers. You can register here to get direct updates regarding Temporary Foreign Worker and COVID-19 issues to your email inbox.

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COVID-19 Infection, Prevention and Control Webinars

OMAFRA is hosting province-wide free webinars on COVID-19 Infection, Prevention and Control on Jan 6th (tomorrow!) and 18th from 12 to 1 PM. This is a great resource as we move into a new production year in the pandemic. It will provide a refresher on best practices and updates on important information for business owners and HR managers on how to keep workers safe against the virus and its variants.

Topics Include:

  • Infection, Prevention and Control measures for employer health and safety awareness 
  • Workplace inspection process
  • Ontario’s Workplace Safety Plan Builder
  • Available supports from OMAFRA to protect worker health and safety including programming under:
    • Enhanced Agri-food Workplace Protection Program (EAWPP)
    • Workplace Safety & Prevention Services (WSPS)

To sign up for one of these webinars, please fill in the form. Zoom details will be emailed after registration.

Proposed Protected Agriculture Stewardship Standards are Open for Comment

Over the last several years, CropLife Canada and various grower groups have been working to develop a certification program for greenhouses and other protected agriculture producers to reduce the risk of nutrients and pest management products leaving the farm with irrigation water. This work was initiated after imidacloprid was found in high levels in some waterways in Ontario and British Columbia. A draft was released in 2020 for public consultation, and feedback has been incorporated into the latest draft which is now available for comment.

Growers that use recirculating flood floors will be captured under the new certification program.

The first stage of the proposed water standard affects greenhouse producers who have recirculating irrigation systems. All growers who self-identify as having a closed-loop irrigation system will need to have passed an audit by December 31, 2023. You can find details on the specific definition of closed-loop in the proposed standard, but generally it includes growers with recirculating systems such as flood floors, flood benches and troughs. All greenhouse growers with these irrigation systems will need to be certified under the program – by successfully completing an audit, or by completing a self declaration indicating that their farm has an open irrigation system– by December 31, 2023.  If a farm has not taken either of these measures, they may be prevented from purchasing pesticides for use in their greenhouses.

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