Greenhouse and Indoor Hydroponics Workshop

HYDROPONICS/INDOOR FARMING WORKSHOP September 5th 2018 Details and registration information coming soon!

Optimizing hydroponic production systems

For details, click the following link: Hort Congress Poster final 3

Vertical farming for beginner growers

Purdue University will develop research-based information for profitable indoor or vertical farming and train beginner farmers and entrepreneurs with best practices through effective extension education. Indoor farming involves growing leafy greens in vertically stacked layers in a building or warehouse to produce more food per unit area and make fresh food readily available to consumers in urban areas.  As energy cost for artificial lighting is a major operational cost and making observations on plants in different vertical layers that are above eye level can be challenging, the proposed research will develop best lighting sources and camera based monitoring of crop growth and nutritional requirements for increased productivity in indoor farming. In addition, the project will educate beginner farmers and entrepreneurs with best practices for profitable indoor farming using extension methods including workshops, field visits and conferences. Research: Two experiments will be conducted: Exp. 1: Little information exists on the suitability[Read More…]

Greenhouse Hydroponics

  Purdue University will develop research based and Indiana region-specific information for hydroponic lettuce production in greenhouses and transfer crop production and marketing knowledge to Indiana farmers through effective extension education. Specifically, (i) the proposed research will develop region-specific information by conducting research on the performance of different leaf lettuce varieties for increased productivity, quality and tolerance to temperature stress, measuring the benefits of using supplemental lighting in winter, and developing best nutrient management practices for hydroponic lettuce production in greenhouses and (ii) effectively disseminate and educate beginner and experienced growers using extension methods including workshops, field visits and conferences on best production and marketing strategies for increased year-round profits. Economic Research Service of USDA (2016) published that annual per capita consumption of lettuce in the US was 24.5 lb. with an average price of $0.45 per lb. in 2015.  With a population of approximately 6.6 million in Indiana, the[Read More…]

Our Research Highlights

Click on the link to learn out our research highlights: Phenotyping work update  

Spectral reflectance for measuring crop N status

Nutrient solution concentration for hydroponically grown lettuce in plant factories and greenhouses is adjusted based on electrical conductivity (EC) of the recycled solution. A better approach is to adjust nutrient solution concentration using plant-based measurements.   We are conducting further research to study whether crop reflectance signature can be used to identify nutrient requirements of crops    

Fertilizer requirements of crops using imaging

Lower fertilizer application rates can influence crop quality while higher rates can pose health-risk issues in humans when consumed (ex: spinach and lettuce) and increase plant susceptibility to pests.  Therefore, plants should be supplied with fertilizer in the amounts they need to grow optimally. We are investigating methods to fertilize plants based on the plant nutrient demand.  Our approach is to non-invasively measure crop growth rate using RGB imaging and supply nutrients that match the crop growth rate.  We are currently using this approach for tomato and lettuce.  Using imaging we can estimate crop dry weight on a daily basis.  This can be used to predict the crop growth rates and the amount of nutrients needed by the plant to sustain the current growth.  Below is an example of imaging work done on tomato and relation between image based metric and crop dry weight.  We are developing simple camera and Lysimetry based system that can capture crop growth rate and crop water use. [Read More…]

Improving supplemental light use efficiency of greenhouse crops

Supplemental lighting is required to produce quality crops inside greenhouses in the northern US.  The energy costs for supplemental lighting can be quite significant.  For example, to add 5 moles of supplemental light per day using 1000 W HPS lamps during mid Nov to mid Mar for an acre of greenhouse can cost $25000.  This makes lighting one of the most expensive input for production.  In addition, only a fraction (1-3%) of supplemental light is actually used by plants in photosynthesis.  Therefore it is important to improve supplemental light use efficiency of plants for ‘sustainable’ crop production.  Our research is focused on identifying environmental factors that transiently reduce supplemental light use efficiency in greenhouses and mitigating these transient stressors during production.  We use a combination of remote sensing techniques to identify supplemental light use efficiency of plants and transient environmental stressors experienced by plants in greenhouses.  Our goal is to develop affordable technologies that can be easily transferred to the greenhouse[Read More…]

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