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July 14, 2010- USDA-ARS Happenings at OFA Short Course

Dr. James Locke demonstrated the use of organic substrate amendments and their effects on geranium and pansy growth to trade show visitors.

Common topics of conversation included Virtual Grower and silicon usage in greenhouse production.

Key projects of the USDA-ARS-GPRG.
               This year marked the seventh year of USDA-ARS-ATRU participation in the OFA annual Short Course.  This event brought together 500 companies and organizations and 150 speakers worldwide to make up the  horticultural industry's premier trade show.  The USDA-ARS booth displayed on-going research at the Wooster and Toledo locations, as well as with cooperating partners.  Staff was on-hand to answer questions about Virtual Grower and substrate amendment demonstrations located at the booth.
               Dr. Jonathan Frantz presented in conjunction with floriculture experts Dr. John Dole, Dr. John Erwin, Dr. Jim Faust, Dr. Paul Fisher, Dr. Erik Runkle, and Dr. Brian Whipker to highlight a consortium of projects aimed at developing research-based growing solutions for the enhancement of floriculture production and green industry.  Dr. Frantz also presented an overview of silicon research to date, underlining some of the beneficial effects seen from its addition to fertilization regimes.  He invited Dr. James Locke and Dr. Neil Mattson to comment on their research involving silicon and organic substrate amendments' availability to provide silicon for potential use in the floriculture industry. 
              USDA-ARS and North Carolina State University research was recognized with the presentation of the Alex Laurie Award for Outstanding Research Paper published during 2009.  Dr. Brian Krug, Ingram McCall, Dr. Brian Whipker, and Dr. Jonathan Frantz's paper in HortScience, titled "Characterization of Calcium and Boron Deficiency and the Effects of Temporal Disruption of Calcium and Boron Supply on Pansy, Petunia, and Gerbera Plugs" was recognized this year.  To view this award-winning paper, click here.  For a brief summary of this paper, click here.  For more information on OFA, please visit

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