Hydroponic Production of Cut Chrysanthemums: A Commercial Trial

in HortScience
Authors:
Peter R. HicklentonAgriculture Canada, Research Station, Kentville, NS B4N 1J5, Canada

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C. R. BlattAgriculture Canada, Research Station, Kentville, NS B4N 1J5, Canada

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R. J. O’ReganAgriculture Canada, Research Station, Kentville, NS B4N 1J5, Canada

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Abstract

A hydroponic nutrient film (NF) system was compared with soil for the production of five cut chrysanthemum crops in a commercial greenhouse. Crops of the cultivars Polaris; Blue, White and Florida Marble; Icecap; Chardonnay; and Heirloom matured 5 days earlier, on average, in NF than in soil. Yields of flowering stems were similar in each system, but close spacing increased productivity per unit greenhouse area for NF. Costs and returns for installation and operation of soil and NF systems in a 1-ha greenhouse were analyzed based on data obtained from the trial crops. Capital and operating costs per unit area increased for NF, but productivity and returns were also greatly improved. Internal rates of return (IRR) were higher for NF, compared to soil, over economic lifetimes ranging from 5 to 25 years. Product price variations caused similar changes in IRR for both systems. A 20% downturn in price, however, resulted in IRR of 3.5% and 19.4% for soil and NF, respectively, over a 25-year lifetime.

Contributor Notes

Received for publication 2 May 1986. Contribution no. 1878. We wish to express our gratitude to M. Isnor, L. Deemer, and L. Timpiner, Avon Valley Greenhouses Ltd., for providing greenhouse space and for reviewing the economic analysis. Funding for this project was provided by the Canada/Nova Scotia Agri-Food Development Program. The cost of publishing this paper was defrayed in part by the payment of page charges. Under postal regulations, this paper therefore must be hereby marked advertisement solely to indicate this fact.

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