Production & Management

Production & Management

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Understanding and Managing Power Factor

Power factor is the way electricity providers measure how efficiently electricity is used across the electricity network and to customers. This can also be used to measure how efficiently individual equipment uses electricity.

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BMP Growing Benches

Constructing growing benches to the standard recognised and encouraged under the nursery industry best management practice program, NIASA, provides a range of significant benefits to assist in the production of quality containerised nursery stock.

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BMP Growing Beds

Constructing growing beds to the standard recognised and encouraged under the nursery industry best management practice program, NIASA, provides significant benefits in the production of quality containerised nursery stock.

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Production Potting

The potting operation is a major component of most production nursery operations. Increasing the overall efficiency of the potting process, can free up resources for use in other parts of the business, and improve plant quality. The following video describes the different potting methods used in the nursery industry.

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Work Flow Efficiency

To achieve maximum efficiency within a potting operation, and to minimise production bottlenecks, the ‘work-flow’ process from potting to plant placement must be efficient. The following video highlights the areas that could be considered when making improvements to the overall productivity of the plant setting out operation.

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Weed Management

Weeds or pest plants can have serious economic, environmental, and social impacts. Weeds reduce crop growth, compete for nutrients water and light, harbour insect pests and pathogens, damage the aesthetics of the plant, reduce the ability to apply crop amendments, and can be one of the most significant input costs to production.

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Reading electricity meters

While electricity meters are read regularly by energy providers, a knowledge of how to read meters or obtain more frequent data on electricity consumption can help with monitoring and reducing electricity use in irrigation systems. Closer monitoring of electricity use may identify areas of electricity where simple changes can be made to reduce consumption, e.g. equipment operating when it isn’t needed.

 

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Energy Plans

While energy efficiency in pumping systems is an important component in reducing energy costs, the cost of electricity must also be factored in, as there can be significant cost savings made by being on the most appropriate tariff and energy plans.
The comparison of tariffs and energy plans is complex, with different companies offering different incentives and different rates. Thorough investigation of the options available is necessary to prevent higher overall energy costs.

 

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Windbreaks

Reducing the impact of wind Few people involved in the nursery industry would need to be persuaded of the benefits in protecting their stock and buildings from wind.
Even moderate wind causes loss in productivity and quality through:-
1. high transpiration rates (plant stress)
2. physical damage to plants
3. disruption of sprinkler distribution patterns
4. time taken to rearrange knocked over plants

 

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Property Planning

The production of top quality container plants is dependent on the supply of a number of generic inputs: water, growing media, fertiliser, pesticides, labour, light and energy. The challenge for production nurseries is to manage these inputs to produce a quality plant to market specification, and make a profit, all without causing detriment to the environment.
Water:

 

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Potting Labour

Research into the labour costs associated with the potting process, funded by the Nursery Industry Association of Australia (NIAA), the Horticultural Research and Development Corporation (HRDC)
and the QDPI, has revealed that many nurseries can reduce potting labour costs and increase profit margins by improving the efficiency of their potting production systems

 

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Plant Labelling

The Nursery and Garden Industry supply plants to a wide range of sectors ranging from: garden centres, landscaping, commercial horticulture, forestry, revegetation and the interior/indoor trade. Traditionally, the requirement for including a plant label with the plant/pot being sold varied according to the end user and their knowledge of the plant and individual needs.

 

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Hygiene in plant propagation

Many production nurseries fail to regularly review hygiene standards and as a result underlying and insidious problems are not obvious until it is too late. Hygiene problems in propagation can easily affect plants for their entire life. Preventing the spread of plant pathogens results in fewer pest and/or disease problems and a reduced need for using pesticides.

 

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What is NIASA and how can it benefit you?

Just like many businesses in Australia, the nursery and garden industry has to deal with uncertain times. You only need to open a newspaper to read of rising interest rates and a global credit crunch, not to mention water shortages, global warming and carbon emissions. It can all get pretty gloomy, very quickly. Fortunately, our industry has schemes in place that can not only fortify your business but also help position you as an expert in your community when it comes to dealing with issues such as water conservation, resource management and biosecurity. This Nursery Paper will look at three production nurseries who have gained NIASA
Accreditation and the positive impact that applying NIASA Best Management Practice has had on their business.

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NIASA Benefits

What advantages are there in becoming a Nursery Industry Accreditation Scheme of Australia (NIASA) accredited nursery?
NIASA has been developed to improve nursery production by using a number of practical methods. The main advantages of accreditation come in systemisation, record keeping, improvement in profitability, regular visits by technical officers, and having a framework to guide regular improvements to the business.

 

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Mycorrhizal and trichodermal associations in nursery plant production

The beneficial interactions between fungi and plants roots are called mycorrhizal associations. In the soil in the ground or in growing media in containers, mycorrhizal fungi link the plant’s roots to the soil/
growing media and facilitate the movement of nutrients into the plant’s roots.

 

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Mitigating Frost Damage in Nursery Production

Frost damage to nursery crops across Australia is a continuing issue with recent frosting events occurring in previously believed ‘frost free’ areas. In 2007 coastal areas of southern Queensland experienced severe frosts, some less than 500m from the ocean, which resulted in tens of thousands of dollars worth of damage. In this Nursery Paper Queensland Industry Development Manager John McDonald explains
how to anticipate a frosting event and mitigate the damage to your crop.

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Hygiene in the nursery

If you thought all disinfectants were the same and worked instantly, you had better read this! This paper details the advantages and limitations of some commonly used disinfectants on various
surfaces such as cement sheet/concrete, gravel, capillary mat, and sand beds. The rough and porous surfaces used for paths and placement of pots, such as concrete, gravel, capillary mats and sand beds
require different disinfectants and treatment times for fungi, bacteria and nematodes. However none of the tested treatments were effective on the highly resistant spores of Chalara elegans, which could
not be eliminated from gravel and cement sheet and was only partially controlled on capillary mat. Further research is required to develop effective means of controlling Chalara elegans contamination
of nursery surfaces.

 

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Hygiene in plant propagation

Many production nurseries fail to regularly review hygiene standards and as a result underlying and insidious problems are not obvious until it is too late. Hygiene problems in propagation can easily affect plants for their entire life. Preventing the spread of plant pathogens results in fewer pest and/or disease problems and a reduced need for using pesticides.

 

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Hygiene and sanitation of working surfaces

General nursery hygiene procedures in the past have been based on information derived from scattered sources and were generally not tested on the range of pests and diseases relevant for the
Australian nursery industry. A research project commissioned by NIAA and HRDC has defined the disinfection methods that will ensure clean working surfaces in the nursery. These procedures will
also be used for NIASA accreditation.

 

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BMP Growing Area Construction

When setting up a growing area, the way the beds are constructed has a great bearing on the efficiency of use and the longevity of the beds. The aim in building a good nursery growing area is to create a stable surface that disposes of drainage water as quickly as possible. This minimises water pooling and allows for efficient collection of water for recycling or reuse.

 

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NIASA Greenlife Market Accreditation

‘Greenlife Markets’, commonly referred to as wholesale plant markets, are trade-only businesses that supply greenlife and allied products to the landscape, horticultural, local government, retail
nursery and development sectors. Greenlife and allied products are sourced from a variety of businesses across Australia including NIASA accredited production nurseries and growing media
suppliers.

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Greenhouse Design

The basic function of a greenhouse is to provide more uniform and reliable plant growth, safer and easier work conditions and to minimise impact on the environment. While there are many different greenhouse design and climate control options available, it is helpful to consider greenhouses under three broad technology categories; being low, medium and high.

 

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OPERATING UNDER THE NURSERY PRODUCTION FARM MANAGEMENT SYSTEM

Tropical Exotics nursery is located at Ningi north of Brisbane and is owned by Gil & Teena Hebrard. The nursery produces a range of container plants designed for interior use, and are sold and marketed through retailers, wholesalers and plant hire companies along the east coast of Australia. Fifty percent of the Tropical Exotics container plant sales are to interstate customers.

 

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Fertigation – providing fertiliser application through the irrigation system

Fertigation is the application of dissolved fertilisers to nursery crops through an irrigation system. This process provides the opportunity to: manage nutrient availability throughout the production cycle, supplement fertiliser supplied in the growing media, manipulate plant growth, alter the fertiliser program during the growing season, correct any nutrient deficiencies.

 

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Fertigation – providing fertiliser application through the irrigation system

Fertigation is the application of dissolved fertilisers to nursery crops through an irrigation system. This process provides the opportunity to:
? manage nutrient availability throughout the production cycle,
? supplement fertiliser supplied in the growing media,
? manipulate plant growth,
? alter the fertiliser program during the growing season,
? correct any nutrient deficiencies.

 

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NGIQ Technical Field Day

Some great presentations were again on offer at the NGIQ Technical Field Day at DPI&F Redlands Research Station last month. Water and irrigation again featured heavily in the program during the day. Mal Hunter, known for the development of his innovative container design, discussed the various forms of capillary matting available for use in nursery irrigation, along with their benefits, uses and shortcomings. Mal also presented findings from his current project.

 

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EcoHort™ workshop

EcoHort™ is the Environmental Management System for Production Nurseries and Growing Media Manufactures within the Australian Nursery Industry. The eighteen participants of the July EcoHort™ workshop held at Kallangur received a wealth of information to enable those operators to implement the EcoHort™ program in their business operations. The participants who attended the one day workshop will receive on farm visits over the coming weeks to provide further assistance with their natural resource management and environmental issues.

 

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EcoHort™ site plan

My first EcoHort™ site assessments have proved positive for the businesses concerned. Participation in an environmental management system is not about achieving some unreasonable benchmark; it is about analyzing the current environmental performance of your business and identifying a list of priority areas for continual improvement. As a Farm Management System Officer, it is then my role to work with each operator to establish an action plan for the coming few years.

 

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EcoHort™ benefits business

My first EcoHort™ site assessments have proved positive for the businesses concerned. Participation in an environmental management system is not about achieving some unreasonable benchmark; it is about analysing the current environmental performance of your business and identifying a list of priority areas for continual improvement. As a Farm Management System Officer, it is then my role to work with each operator to establish an action plan for the coming few years.

 

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Continual Improvement through Best Management Practice

One of the more enjoyable aspects of my role with NGIQ is visiting production nurseries, meeting old friends and making new ones. So far I have visited at over 70 nurseries in SEQ, discussing the benefits of EcoHort™ (the production nursery environmental management system) and NIASA (our best management practice program). The response has been overwhelmingly positive from those who have taken the time to discuss and consider the opportunities that may exist through gaining environmental certification.

 

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Best Management Practices

One of the more enjoyable aspects of my new role with NGIQ is visiting production nurseries, meeting old friends and making new ones. So far, Steve Hart and I have visited at least 80 nurseries in SEQ, discussing the benefits of EcoHort™ (the nursery industry environmental management system) and NIASA (our best management practice system).

 

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Promoting Sustainable Nursery Production

The NGIQ has been an active member of the Queensland Farmers Federation (QFF) for a number of years benefiting from a collective approach to regulatory issues and the sharing of information between member organisations. Through our association with QFF, and its member bodies (Sugar, Cotton, Fruit & Vegetables, Dairy, Chicken Producers, etc), we have had opportunities to involve our industry in a range of activities and projects directed at various strategic initiatives including drought declaration, biosecurity, natural resource management and environmental performance. Due to the above alliance NGIQ has been an active participant in a QFF/EPA Project – Enhancing Sustainable Primary Production.

 

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NATURE CONSERVATION ACT 1992 2001 REQUIREMENTS FOR THE NURSERY INDUSTRY

To grow and sell Australian native plants (Protected Plants) in Queensland it is quite possible that you will require some level of authorisation/licence under the Nature Conservation Act 1992 or its subordinate legislation. Australian native plants entering Queensland, from another state or territory, immediately come under the jurisdiction of the Queensland legislation irrespective of the originating state or territory’s legislation.

 

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Frost and freezing

As winter continues to role on the ever present threat of frost hangs over production and retail nurseries throughout southern Queensland. Frost is caused by a drop in temperature at or below 0?C with wind speeds under approximately 10km/h. Temperatures below 0?C with wind speeds above 10km/h cause freezing which is a different phenomena to that of frost. It is very difficult to modify the environment, during freezing conditions, in an attempt to reduce crop damage whereas frost remediation through environment modification can be effective.

 

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Growing Media & Water Testing

Two of the most important inputs in plant production are the growing media and the irrigation water used to grow the crop. It is vital that the chemical and physical characteristics of these two inputs are known as they can have such a major impact on so many areas of the successful production of a marketable crop.