OMAFRA CEA Webinar Series: Smart Sensors for Floriculture

Ever thought your plants were looking a little chlorotic, but didn’t want to waste time or money on tests? What if an smartphone app could tell you their nitrogen level? What if low cost sensors could help you monitor plant growth and tell you when PGRs are needed?

Having previously covered topics such as artificial intelligence and smart spraying, OMAFRA is continuing it’s CEA Webinar series, looking specifically at smart sensors. And they don’t have to be anything fancy to help you monitor your crop.

Although “floriculture” is in the title, the sensors and apps Dr. Krishna Nemali from Purdue University will discuss have applications across all avenues of controlled environment agriculture. Keep reading for details on the webinar, and how to register.

Knowing when to apply PGRs to crops like poinsettia is critical. A smart phone app could help make things easier with less staff training.
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Water DNA Tests: Pros, Cons and Interpreting Results

This post was written by S. Jandricic and A. Wylie.

Overhead boom irrigation

This is the fourth article in a series about water sanitation. The goal of this series is to get you reflecting on your own irrigation system before you are faced with a problem.  The first post covered where problems are likely to occur in your greenhouse ; the 2nd covered the types of pathogens found in water and the 3rd covered where and how to sample your water.

Once you’ve got your water sample, this post will cover why water DNA tests are useful, and how to interpret the results. This is the next step towards identifying and then treating your water issues to prevent unnecessary fungal or bacterial disease in your greenhouse crops, and potentially save you thousands of dollars in crop losses or fungicide applications.

These posts make good refresher resources, so make sure to bookmark them!

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Nutrient Solution Analysis Projects for Greenhouses and Vertical Farms in Ontario (Flowers, Vegetables and Cannabis)

This post was written by Fadi Al-Daoud and Cara McCreary, greenhouse vegetable specialists with OMAFRA, and originally appeared on the ONgreenhousevegetables blog.

Subirrigation in a dutch tray of gerbera plants

The quality of water and nutrient solution used in controlled environment agriculture (CEA) production systems, such as greenhouses and vertical farms, is one of the most important factors that affect plant health and yield. Growers monitor water and nutrient solution quality by sending samples for analysis to determine the levels of nutrients and salts. They also use sensors to monitor pH and electrical conductivity (EC) regularly to determine necessary adjustments for the nutrient solution. Growers may also analyze the microbiome, the genetic material of all the bacteria, fungi, and viruses that live in their water and nutrient solution, to evaluate levels of harmful pathogens, such as Pythium and Phytophthora species that cause root rot.

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Is Your Water a Source of Plant Disease? How to Sample and Find Out.

Old rustic water pipe with running drinking water and plastic bottle being filled up, aid concept.

After reading the previous posts in this series, you’re now aware of WHICH pathogens can be spread through your irrigation water, WHERE they can accumulate, and WHY that’s important.  We’re now moving on to posts covering WHAT you can do about it!

This post will walk you through how to sample water sources on your farm, and which tests you can run to determine if your water is helping – or hurting – your crop.

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Diagnostics from a Distance: 5 tips on how to get the answers you need

IMG_4760How do you get help in this day and age when your extension agent or consultant can’t just pop into your greenhouse and look at a problem with you? Although nothing can replace seeing an issue first-hand, there is still a way to get help with your pest and production issues from a distance.

This post will give you tips on key information you need to send, and how to take good photos, to make getting quick and accurate answers from experts easier via email or messaging.

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Which Thrips are in Your Flower Crops (Part II): How to ID and Control Onion Thrips

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Thrips tabaci, or Onion thrips. Photo courtesy of Thrips-ID.com.

If you were at the Canadian Greenhouse Conference (or are regularly reading this blog!) you’d know we’ve recently identified Onion thrips as a pest of floriculture crops in Ontario (see this post).

Outside of Ontario?  Well, this still may apply to you, as a recent study in France also indicated that up to 47% of pest thrips in floriculture greenhouses were Onion thrips.  So, this issue could be wide-spread.

My last post covered the extent of the problem in Ontario’s industry.  This post will help you identify if YOU are dealing with Onion thrips (OT) along with Western flower thrips (WFT), and what to do about it.

 

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