The management of irrigation in a production nursery directly affects plant growth and profitability. Excessive irrigation can waste water, energy and labour, can leach nutrients, and reduce growing media aeration. Insufficient irrigation can stress the crop, affecting plant quality and reducing crop uniformity. Irrigation scheduling refers to how long, how often and when an irrigation system is operated to replenish the amount of water lost from a container since the last irrigation event.
The ability of a growing media to take up water effectively once it has dried out is critical to the growth of plants and the ability of the media to become wet again. This is known as wettability. Testing for wettability isn’t difficult and can be done at minimal cost with some basic equipment and a little bit of time. This video shows a process for carrying out a practical on-site wettability test on growing media.
Knowing the amount of water held within a growing media, referred to as Water Holding Capacity (WHC) of your growing media can help you manage irrigation scheduling more effectively and ensure plants have adequate moisture. Testing for Water Holding Capacity isn’t difficult and can be done at minimal cost with some basic equipment and a little bit of time. This video shows a process for carrying out a practical on-site water holding capacity test on growing media.
The effective management of water quality in storages needs to be flexible, and quickly react to changes in water quality. This video explains strategies that can be employed in managing water quality in water storages.
A biological water clarifier was added to a nursery water storage containing increasing levels of algae, plankton and surface floating weeds, leading to costly management and maintenance activities, crop production issues and an unpleasant odour. Water turbidity decreased, algal blooms had disappeared, and the previous unpleasant odour was no longer evident.
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. This video highlights the areas that could be considered when making improvements to the overall productivity of the plant setting out operation.
Every business faces risk, but not every business faces their risk. The Nursery Production Farm Management System (FMS) is designed assist production nurseries, greenlife markets and growing media manufacturers in planning their future through risk analysis and action planning.
The first steps in meeting the requirements of the Nursery Production Farm Management System (FMS) are gaining Nursery Industry Accreditation Scheme Australia accreditation. NIASA is the cornerstone of the Nursery Production FMS and provides a set of guidelines that ensures a business operates according to industry best practice and commits to a continuous improvement cycle.
Weeds or pest plants can have serious economic, environmental and social impacts. Weeds can 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.
Improving water use efficiency in a production nursery begins with having a clear understanding of the infrastructure and practices currently in place. Irrigation, Drainage and Energy Management Plans, or IDEMPs, describe the infrastructure and management practices in operation at a business, and outline opportunities, suggestions and designs for on-farm improvements, to ensure the business remains profitable and sustainable into the future.
Knowing the pH and Electrical Conductivity or EC of your growing media can help you to grow better and more consistent crops. Testing procedures aren't difficult and can be done at minimal cost. This video shows a process for carrying out a practical on-site pH and electrical conductivity test on growing media.
pH and Electrical Conductivity meters are extremely useful pieces of equipment used to measure and monitor basic chemical characteristics of water and growing media. Regular and correct calibration of this equipment is necessary to ensure the results are as accurate as possible. The following video describes the basic procedures for calibrating pH and EC meters.
Plant roots require air as well as water to remain healthy. The amount of air held within a growing media is referred to as Air filled porosity or AFP . Testing procedures for AFP aren't difficult and can be done at minimal cost with simple equipment built from readily available materials and a little bit of time. This video shows a process for carrying out a practical on-site air filled porosity test on growing media.
Drip irrigation is an efficient system for applying water to nursery container production. It has the potential to out-perform overhead irrigation systems in achieving optimum plant growth and quality, while minimising water use.
An efficient irrigation system operating to industry best practice provides an opportunity to obtain real operational and economic benefits.
An efficient overhead irrigation system should apply the water at the appropriate application rate. evenly across the crop and apply water evenly accross the production area, minimising dry spots.
The performance of an overhead irrigation system can easily be evaluated by conducting a simple catch can assessment.
Coir, coir fibre pith or coconut fibre is a one hundred percent natural, sustainable and renewable product. Coir is a ‘peat like’ byproduct produced from the processing of coconut husks, and is composed of the fibrous material found between the hard, internal shell and the outer coat of a coconut. Coir is lightweight, retains moisture and is an affordable growing media substrate or component for adding to growing media blends, producing stronger, healthier and more fibrous root systems.
Knowing the pH and Electrical Conductivity or EC of your irrigation and drainage water can help you to grow better and more consistent crops. Testing procedures aren't difficult and can be done at minimal cost. This video shows a process for carrying out a practical on-site pH and electrical conductivity test on water.
Hygiene procedures are paramount for the control of plant pests, pathogens and weeds in any production nursery, greenlife market and growing media manufacturer. Effective hygiene and disinfestation protocols must be developed for the successful control of biosecurity issues, in high risk production situations.
Hygiene procedures are paramount for the control of plant pests, pathogens and weeds in any production nursery, greenlife market and growing media manufacturer. Effective hygiene and disinfestation protocols must be developed, to successfully control biosecurity issues in high risk production situations.
An efficient irrigation system is designed to deliver the appropriate volume of water evenly, to meet all plant needs and in the time available. The irrigation system should apply water evenly across the cropping area, apply the correct volume of water often enough to meet plant demands and apply the required water in the time available.
Upgrading an existing sprinkler layout or installing a new one to best management practice is one way of improving the water use efficiency of an irrigation system while improving crop growth and profitability.