Location: Application Technology Research
Project Number: 5082-21000-017-10-S
Project Type: Specific Cooperative Agreement
Start Date: Sep 3, 2013
End Date: Jul 31, 2018
1. To quantify pH, nutrient, and water dynamics for floriculture production. 2. To develop cost accounting and resource efficiency tools to benchmark and improve productivity of floriculture producers.
The capital and operating cost of water treatment technologies will be quantified to assist growers in investment decisions. Economic data will be collected from water treatment companies and grower installations. Several technologies (VPD, moisture sensors, monitoring leaching and nutrient levels, controlled release fertilizers) will be used to evaluate and demonstrate potential to improve water and nutrient use efficiency of floriculture stock plant production, which is characterized by high leaching rates and use of water soluble fertilizer. Interactions of plant species and fertilizers on pH dynamics will be investigated in hydroponic and peat-based substrate systems. The series of processes in production of seedling plugs, rooted cuttings, and tissue culture plants will be mapped out in a flow chart to quantify material costs, labor inputs, shrinkage, quality control procedures, and key performance indicators. These data will feed into an economic model to calculate, for example, the cost of crop losses at different stages. Data will be collected from several young plant growers in order to develop benchmarks and identify factors that lead to differences in efficiency (for example, use of lean flow techniques).