#Greenhouseindustry #Cropperformance #Glassvs.polygreenhouses #Varietaldifferences #Growmedia #Biochar #Powderymildewcontrol #Lightingtechnologies #HighBayLEDs #HorticulturalLEDs #Aquaponics #Sustainableagriculture #Researchanddevelopment
A collaborative project conducted by scientists at Lethbridge College’s Centre for Applied Research, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship, in partnership with industry experts, has revealed significant findings for Canada’s greenhouse industry. The study explores the performance of different crop varieties, the impact of greenhouse types, the efficacy of alternative grow media, and the role of lighting technologies. These findings offer valuable insights for farmers, agronomists, agricultural engineers, farm owners, and scientists involved in the agricultural sector.
Recent research conducted in Alberta’s greenhouse sector provided valuable insights into optimizing crop production in greenhouse conditions. The study evaluated the performance of various strawberry and tomato varieties, revealing significant differences in yield between glass and poly greenhouses. Glass greenhouses demonstrated higher yields, emphasizing the importance of maximizing light availability for improved crop performance. Additionally, the study examined the efficacy of different grow media and identified a promising alternative called biochar, which displayed comparable yield results to traditional media.
Furthermore, the research investigated the effectiveness of various powdery mildew control methods, highlighting the efficacy of sulfur, polyoxin D zinc salt, fluopyram, potassium bicarbonate, UV light, and microbial products. The study emphasizes the need for further research on biological products to reduce chemical inputs in food production.
Regarding lighting technologies, the study compared the performance of common ‘High Bay’ full-spectrum industrial LEDs, ‘horticultural’ LEDs, and HPS lights in greenhouse strawberry production. Surprisingly, the more affordable High Bay LEDs demonstrated comparable results to horticultural LEDs, challenging the prevailing belief that specialized lights yield superior results. The study also highlighted the benefits of full-spectrum light, emphasizing the adaptability of plants to take advantage of the light spectrum they require.
Exciting developments are also underway at Lethbridge College, with a forthcoming three-year project set to assess the performance of cucumbers, tomatoes, and peppers under different lighting types. The project aims to provide a comprehensive analysis of crop productivity, financial benefits, power consumption, and setup and maintenance costs, aiding the industry in making informed decisions regarding lighting options and maximizing return on investment.
In addition to lighting research, Dr. Nick Savidov continues his aquaponics greenhouse systems research, recognizing their potential to revolutionize sustainable food production. Aquaponics systems offer an innovative approach to nutrient utilization, utilizing waste products such as fish waste, chicken manure, or food waste to provide essential nutrients for plant growth. This research showcases the promising future of aquaponics and its potential to address the global challenges of nutrient management and sustainable protein production.
The collaborative research conducted in Alberta’s greenhouse industry sheds light on various factors influencing crop performance, offering valuable insights for farmers, agronomists, agricultural engineers, farm owners, and scientists. From optimizing greenhouse types to exploring alternative grow media, controlling plant diseases, and evaluating lighting technologies, these findings contribute to the industry’s ongoing pursuit of efficient and sustainable agricultural practices.