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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Wooster, Ohio » Application Technology Research » Research » Research Project #444768

Research Project: Modernizing the Floriculture Supply Chain Facilitating Adoption of Cost-Effective Technologies to Create New & Resilient Crops in a Changing Climate

Location: Application Technology Research

Project Number: 5082-21000-001-078-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 1, 2023
End Date: Aug 31, 2028

(1) To optimize conditions and facilitate grower adoption of vertical indoor propagation (VIP) for propagating cuttings and seedlings under sole-source LED lighting in controlled growth rooms. (2) To quantify evapotranspiration (ET) of transplants in order to facilitate grower adoption of climate-based mist irrigation and climate sensors to match irrigation with plant needs and thereby conserve water and improve plant rooting performance.

(1) Vertical Indoor Propagation: • Design prototypes for irrigation mist application and humidification for tightly-spaced shelves in VIP rooms, and test prototype mist and humidification equipment and controls in a commercial setting. • Run experiments under a range of set conditions [varying light intensity, air movement, and vapor-pressure deficit (VPD)] to quantify their effect on ET and plant growth, in order to refine control algorithms for mist and humidification. • Compare ET and plant performance in VIP versus greenhouse conditions. • Assist growers with design and implementation of commercial-scale VIP rooms. (2) Greenhouse evapotranspiration: • Test infrared temperature sensors for quantifying soil/leaf temperature in research and commercial greenhouses, and benchmark leaf VPD and other climate parameters. • Identify a process to summarize climate based on key performance indicators and benchmarks. • Use load cells to quantify ET in propagation trays. • Model ET in response to climate and identify the minimum reliable set of sensors for commercial application to accurately predict ET. • Develop control algorithms for misting, and a process for auto-calibration of these algorithms in different greenhouse locations.