tools & models (9)

28 Aug 2018

Identifying Opportunities to Promote Water Conservation Practices among Nursery and Greenhouse Growers

Warner, L.A., Lamm, A.J., Beattie, P., Fisher, P.R. (University of Florida), and S.A. White (Clemson University)

In this study we assessed knowledge level of U.S. greenhouse and nursery growers about eight water conservation technologies and examined the rate at which growers had adopted and continued their use. Overall, greater levels of knowledge corresponded to both greater adoption and continued use of a technology. Other factors, such as economic cost and technical feasibility are undoubtedly important. Findings highlight an opportunity to focus educational programs on the systems-based strategies that are beneficial to growers, but growers are least knowledgeable about to increase adoption of effective water conservation methods that currently have low levels of grower implementation.

HortScience 2018 Warner et al (363 KB)

10 Apr 2018

Improving Irrigation Efficiency Reduces Water Use

Ristvey, A., Oki, L.R., Haver, D.L., and B.J.L. Pitton (University of California Davis)

A high level of irrigation application uniformity is essential to maximize irrigation efficiency and several strategies are available to audit irrigation systems. Limitations in system design and uniformity can decrease water availability and distribution, thereby hindering efforts to provide sufficient water to plants. Inadequate plant water can reduce growth and quality, decreasing saleable product and profits, while potentially creating environmental problems. Discussed in this article are irrigation system best management practices (BMPs) to improve water use efficiency (WUE), with the potential to increase the amount of water available for distribution and decrease waste. 

https://www.amerinursery.com/water-management/improving-irrigation-efficiency-reduces-water-use/

5 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)

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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.

 

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