Cut Costs with Less Heat and Water
by Michael Kovalycsik, National Sales & Marketing Director, Delta T Solutions
As growers look for ways to cut costs using less heat and water, they increasingly look to ongoing research for more ideas. With several horticulture departments at land grant universities nationwide, all of which are dedicated to helping growers improve their growing methods, the horticulture industry continues to flourish and, despite trying times and struggling economies, become more efficient and sustainable.
Dr. Erik Runkle and his team of graduate students at Michigan State University have studied new ways to grow crops efficiently with less heat for the past six years. In a series entitled “Energy-Efficient Annuals,” published in Greenhouse Grower, the MSU team provided crop-specific information in response to growing temperatures.
“What we learned from our research, reported in the “Energy-Efficient Annuals” series, is that it is not possible to make blanket statements about growing temperatures because answers depend on the crop, time of year, greenhouse location and characteristics, desired plant quality, etc,” Runkle says. “In other words, it's very situational.”
With this knowledge, Dr. Runkle was kind enough to provide a few key points in response to our questions about ways to grow crops cooler.
Delta T Solutions (DTS): What are 5 things every grower should know about reducing temperature in the greenhouse to save on costs?
DTS: What are the rules of thumb for reducing temperature in the greenhouse?
DTS: What should a grower NEVER attempt to do, regarding crop temperature?
DTS: How important are heating/growing zones in controlling temperature in the greenhouse?
DTS: For growers new to this concept, where do you suggest they start, to improve efficiency and reduce temperature for lower heating costs?
REDUCING WATER USE
Automating irrigation is one of the best and most efficient ways of watering crops — a fact we at Delta T Solutions are happy to promote. Recent findings by a collective body of researchers has found that one of the latest innovations in irrigation automation is the use of substrate moisture sensors, which trigger irrigation. These inexpensive sensors can help conserve water, reduce pollution and improve efficiency by reducing electricity for well pumps. Researchers found that a wide variety of annual and perennial plants can be irrigated with as little as 0.3 to 1.3 gallons of water for an entire cropping cycle, when using substrate moisture sensors.
Researchers also found that substrate moisture sensors help reduce pathogens, in addition to preventing water waste and saving money through automated irrigation in your greenhouse. Although sensors are currently used in drip irrigation or capillary mat systems, they are likely to be used in other sustainable irrigation systems such as sub-irrigation, as well. Click here for the whole story.
Meanwhile, to learn more about sustainable automated irrigation systems from Delta T Solutions, including our Flood and Bench Irrigation Line, warm water irrigation systems and constant pressure irrigation systems, contact one of our representatives by calling 800-552-5058 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
27711 Diaz Rd, Suite B, Temecula, CA 92590 • 800.552.5058 • 760.682.0428 (fax) • www.deltatsolutions.com