Submitted to: University of Toledo, Urban Affairs Center (UTUAC)
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: March 17, 2008
Publication Date: April 1, 2008
Citation: Frantz, J. 2008. Virtual Grower Software Helps in Greenhouse Management. University of Toledo, Urban Affairs Center (UTUAC). Spring 08:4-5 Technical Abstract: Management decisions that are based on trial and error or “rules of thumb” are not consistently profitable for greenhouse producers. Since 2005, the USDA-ARS group in Toledo, OH has been working on software that helps take some of the guesswork out of greenhouse management generally, and help guide producers into saving energy and money. Since its initial release in January, 2006, over 2,500 copies have been downloaded or distributed in over 20 countries. But Virtual Grower remains a Toledo-born product and as work continues on it, we rely on local and regional input for global impact. To help test and validate the software as well as to help the local greenhouse industry save money and energy, a short-term program was started through the Center for Urban Affairs at the University of Toledo. An undergraduate student was hired to help us visit local growers and simulate their facilities. Through this program, we hope to identify opportunities for growers to save energy as well as providing them the financial justification for pursuing changes in their current management scenarios.