must be reduced by efficiently using human resources and/or by using mechanization or automation. In plant production systems with natural lighting (e.g., fields and greenhouses), efficient use of human resources has been investigated through work
Katsumi Ohyama, Junichi Yamaguchi, and Ayumi Enjoji
John D. Lea-Cox*
Environmental and human safety regulations are now an inevitable part of horticultural crop production. For most businesses, worker training and the subsequent collection and administration of data required for reporting purposes is often regarded as an economic burden. There are few systematic models that firstly provide an ecompassing approach to this business requirement, but more importantly which provide resources that simplify and perhaps automate the reporting of data to any significant degree. A good environmental management system (EMS) should provide a framework to systematically plan, control, measure and improve an organization's environmental performance and assessment. Significant environmental improvements (and cost savings) can be achieved by assessing and improving management and production processes, but only if the data are collected and analyzed quickly and easily. Many times, growers do not realize the relationship between their improved environmental performance and other key EMS benefits, such as reduced liability, better credit ratings, enhanced employee performance, improved customer relations, marketing advantages together with improved regulatory compliance. The International organization for Standardization (ISO) 14001 series is the most widely accepted international standard for EMS. Growers in most states in the US are required to document their use of pesticides and other agrochemicals that can impact human health, and in some states are also required to to document and monitor their applications of water and nutrients, in an effort to environmental pollution. This paper will illustrate the key elements of environmental management systems and how this can be integrated into production management using process management software.
Dewayne L. Ingram, Charles R. Hall, and Joshua Knight
The components for two production systems for young foliage plants in 72-count propagation trays were analyzed using life cycle assessment (LCA) procedures. The systems differed by greenhouse type, bench size and arrangement, rainwater capture, and irrigation/fertilization methods. System A was modeled as a gutter-connected, rounded-arch greenhouse without a ridge vent and covered with double-layer polyethylene, and the 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. Inventories of input products, equipment use, and labor were generated from the protocols for those scenarios and a LCA was conducted to determine impacts on the respective greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and the subsequent carbon footprint (CF) of foliage plants at the farm gate. CF is expressed in global warming potential for a 100-year period (GWP) in units of kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalents (kg CO2e). The GWP of the 72-count trays were calculated as 4.225 and 2.276 kg CO2e with variable costs of $25.251 and $24.857 for trays of foliage plants grown using Systems A and B, respectively. The GWP of most inputs and processes were similar between the two systems. Generally, the more modern greenhouse in System B was more efficient in terms of space use 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. Thus, growers should consider the gains in efficiency and their influences on CF, variable costs (and overhead costs) when making future decisions regarding investment in greenhouse structures.
Availability and capability of labor have become dominating factors affecting agriculture's productivity and sustainability. Agricultural mechanization can substitute for human and animal physical power and improve operational uniformity. Automation complements mechanization by implementing the capabilities of automatic perception, reasoning, communication, and task planning. Fixed automation is traditionally cost-effective for mass production of standard items. In addition, flexible automation responds to make-to-order batch processing. The appropriateness of each automation type depends on the situation at hand. Because of their vast memory and high calculation speed, computers are highly effective for rapid information processing. Incorporating state-of-the-art hardware and software, computers can generate status reports, provide decision support, gather sensor signals, and/or instruct machines to perform physical work. It is no surprise, therefore, that computerization is essential to the evolutionary process, from mechanization through fixed automation to flexible automation. Fundamentals of agricultural mechanization, automation, and computerization applied to greenhouse production are discussed. Recent research activities conducted at Rutgers Univ. are presented for illustrative purposes.
Xiuling Tian and Youbin Zheng
-borne plant pathogens within the recirculation system ( Richard et al., 2006 ). Various water disinfection technologies have been used in controlled environment plant production systems including greenhouse and nursery operations. However, these technologies
Joshua Knight, Dewayne L. Ingram, and Charles R. Hall
young plant production system components using life cycle assessment HortScience 52 1356 1361 International Organization for Standardization 2006 Life cycle assessment, requirements and guidelines. ISO Rule 14044:2006. Intl. Organization for
Victoria M. Anderson, Douglas D. Archbold, Robert L. Geneve, Dewayne L. Ingram, and Krista L. Jacobsen
constructing plant production systems, and significantly affected leaf area, flower yield, flower weight, and essential oil quantity and quality. The cultivars used in this work were selected for commercial availability in the study region. Interestingly, the
Ki-Ho Son and Myung-Min Oh
in closed-type plant production systems, where environmental conditions are controlled, allowing crops to be produced throughout the year regardless of external weather conditions. In comparison with other conventional artificial lighting sources used
Bruce R. MacKay, Marion B. MacKay, Keith A. Funnell, T. Eddie Welsh, and Lisa Emerson
We thank Alison Duffy for her assistance with the sunflower project, Ray Johnstone and his staff at the Plant Growth Unit for maintaining the plant production systems, and Luke Hansen for his tutoring in the laboratories. The cost of
Julie P. Newman, Joseph P. Albano, Donald J. Merhaut, and Eugene K. Blythe
Release characteristics of four different polymer-coated fertilizers (Multicote, Nutricote, Osmocote, and Polyon) were studied over a 47-week period in a simulated outdoor, containerized plant production system. The 2.4-L containers, filled with high-fertility, neutral-pH substrate, were placed on benches outdoors to simulate the environmental conditions often used for sun-tolerant, woody perennials grown in the southwestern United States. Container leachates were collected weekly and monitored for electrical conductivity, pH, and concentrations of NH4 +N, NO3 –N, total P, and total K. Concentrations of most nutrients in leachates were relatively high, but fluctuated frequently during the first third of the study period, and then gradually decreased and stabilized during the last 27 weeks. Osmocote often resulted in greater NH4 + and total inorganic N concentrations in leachates than other fertilizers during weeks 1 through 5, whereas Multicote produced higher NH4 + in leachates than most of the other fertilizer types during weeks 9 through 12. Overall, total P concentrations were greater with Multicote during a third of the experimental period, especially when compared with Osmocote and Polyon. Differences were also observed among treatments for leachate concentrations of K, with Polyon and Multicote fertilizers producing greater K concentrations in leachates compared with Osmocote during several weeks throughout the experimental period. Leachate concentrations of NO3 –N and P from all fertilizer types were usually high, especially from week 5 through week 30.