From The Editor

Blog by Steven Carruthers

The Rise Of Urban Agriculture

Christine Brown-Paul

Christine Brown-Paul

Welcome to this new look issue of Practical Hydroponics & Greenhouses. We hope you like the new, refreshed design – thanks go to our new designer, Steve Harrison who has done a sterling job in giving PH&G an attractive makeover (Steve worked for the magazine about 15 years ago). And on the subject of changes, I’ll be sitting in the editor’s chair while our trusty editor Steven Carruthers takes a long overdue and well-deserved break. Let me take this opportunity of saying hello to all our loyal readers and of course to new ones – many of you might recognise my byline, as I’ve been writing for the magazine for many years. See More

Food Recall Plan

Food safety is an issue that should be foremost in the minds of everyone involved in the supply of fresh food products. Following highly publicised foodborne illnesses worldwide, in this issue we focus on food safety with news of electrifying new technology for sanitising fresh produce; rapid infrared analysis, which could streamline food processing tests in the production line; and a commercial grower’s experience conducting a fresh food recall. See More

Taking the next step

The 10th Hydroponic Farmers Federation (HFF) conference and exhibition recently held at the Lorne Mantra will be remembered for its beautiful location on the Surf Coast of Victoria, and a quality speaker program. See More

Intuitive Online Farm Safety Program

The Internet as an education tool continues to throw up new training concepts. The latest is a pre-employment 40-minute intuitive online farm safety induction program, which is targeted at field and seasonal workers, and backpackers working the harvest trail. See More

Moving Towards a Digital Society

The Internet is regarded as a powerful resource for information. What started as an idea in a technical paper by Mr Berners-Lee, then a computer scientist at a European physics lab, who outlined a way to easily access files on linked computers, has developed into a global phenomenon that has changed almost every aspect of our daily lives.
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Alarming Vegetable Industry Statistics

According to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) report on Agricultural commodities for the year ending June 2015, the gross value of the vegetable industry has declined 4.6% compared to the 2013-14 period. In fact, the value of the industry has declined 11.1% since 2012-13. See More

Aussie Industry Growth Forecasts

The Australian protected cropping industry is primed for major expansions over 2016-2020. In recent weeks, new start-up Nectar Farms announced plans to invest A$120m over the next four years, creating employment for about 1000 workers in two regional locations. These projects represent a combined glassshouse production area of 80ha and expected to add A$125m p.a. to the regional economy. See More

Work Health & Safety

The tragic death of a 60-year-old farm worker after falling from a hothouse roof is a reminder to all growers of the need for safe work systems. The worker had been attempting to remove plastic covering when he lost his balance and fell about 2.5 metres, suffering a fractured spine, spinal cord damage and quadriplegia. The worker passed away from health complications while in hospital following the incident. Safework NSW charged the business and its director with a breach of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (NSW) for failing to comply with their duty. They were both found guilty in the District Court and fined a total of A$165,000. See More

Carbon Dioxide Fertilisation

In the broad debate on climate change, the Australian horticulture industry is a small contributor of carbon dioxide emissions, representing just 1% of national agriculture emissions (National Greenhouse Gas Inventory 2007). However, while fertilisers are seen as the only source of emissions from horticulture in the national inventory, there are other direct and indirect emissions from horticulture, such as fuel and electricity. While net CO2 emissions are small, existing and future climate change policies place little importance on horticulture and particularly the protected cropping industry, which is a consumer of carbon dioxide to improve crop quality and yields. See More

A viable greenhouse technology

The AUD$3 million Young Sang & Co retractable roof greenhouse recently opened in Bundaberg, Australia, represents the future of greenhouse technology in warm, arid and semi-arid regions exposed to the vagaries of extreme weather events. The Bundaberg region is particularly known for its violent storms, which became a reality on the eve of the official opening of the new greenhouse. The timing could not have been better for the Canadian greenhouse designer, Cravo; the structure withstanding the fierce hail storm and 100kph winds, an exemplary testimony to the benefits of this technology. Retractable roof greenhouses are suitable for soilless and ground growing systems, without the added expense of ancillary equipment to control temperature and humidity, which is essential in a closed greenhouse environment. See More

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