Stellar speaker line-up

The Apex–Brinkman Protected Cropping Australia  (PCA) conference and trade exhibition, to be held at the Adelaide Convention Centre, South Australia, from 9-12 July 2017, has a stellar line-up of speakers specialising in hydroponic, greenhouse, aquaponic and high-tech growing systems. This biennial national industry event, which includes a two-day technical program, a trade expo and farm tours, is a great opportunity to learn about the latest growing technology and management practices. The event is expected to attract growers, industry experts and allied trade suppliers throughout Australasia, Asia, Europe and North America.

Senator Anne Ruston

Former commercial rose grower, Senator Anne Ruston

Speakers include Senator Anne Ruston, the Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources in the Coalition Government. In 1996, Ruston was appointed Chief Executive at the National Wine Centre until 2002, following which she purchased Ruston’s Rose Garden and became a commercial rose producer. From 2003 to 2015, she was the owner and managing director of Ruston’s Roses, the largest rose garden in Australia.

Wim van Esch

International insurance expert, Wim van Esch

Mr Wim van Esch, an international insurance expert from Achmea Australia, will speak on Fresh produce product recall in the glasshouse industry. With consumers becoming ever more interested in, and aware of, where their food comes from and how it is produced, the scrutiny on producers of fresh produce continues to increase. When something goes wrong with your product, the impact on your business can be far-reaching. Wim van Esch will focus on practical measures growers can take to identify, mitigate and manage risks throu

Mike Nichols

Eminent horticulture researcher, Dr Mike Nichols

Eminent horticulture researcher Dr Mike Nichols from New Zealand will focus his presentations on Medical marijuana and Fruit growing in the future. He will give an introduction to the various types of cannabis and examine some of their different medical properties. His presentation will also highlight how best to grow cannabis for medical purposes, and consider possible methods by which the cannabinoids are ingested.

Jeffery Pouw, from Hermandix (NL), will speak on Properties of different grades of whitewash. Shading agents and coatings contribute to an optimal greenhouse climate.

Marcel Bugter

Micronutrient expert, Marcel Bugter

Marcel Bugter, AkzoNobel Micronutrients (NL) will focus his presentation on How chelates can further boost your yield. Most professional growers know that chelated iron (Fe-DTPA) is used in hydroponic nutrient solutions to protect the Fe from precipitation. Discussion will take place on whether Mn, Zn and Cu should also be chelated, following an extensive, scientific rockwool greenhouse tomato study in Belgium 2016.

Katharina Admaitza

LED light specialist, Katharina Admaitza

Katharina Admaitza is a plant physiologist who has specialised in LED light and photosynthesis in horticultural crops in Europe. She has conducted research in various leading European academic institutions including into photosynthesis at Max-Planck-Institute for molecular Plant Physiology, Potsdam in Germany before joining Finish commercial LED producer Valoya in 2015. Katharina will be visiting Australia as a keynote presenter on the topic LED’s and Light Quality effect on plant growth. Before and after the conference, Katharina will be visiting leading horticultural research institutions and selected Australian commercial installations on the eastern seaboard.

Wilson Lennard

Aquaponic expert Wilson Lennard

Wilson Lennard is one of Australia’s prominent experts on aquaponics technology and as such will focus on Aquaponics: Combining hydroponics with aquaculture. He will share a method to produce hydroponic nutrient mixture and strength analogues in an aquaponic environment.

Sohum Gandhi

Greenhouse energy expert, Sohum Gandhi

Sohum Gandhi from Enriva (Aust) is a recognised expert on energy for greenhouse crop production. His presentation will focus on Gas, Biomass, CO2 : An Informed Choice. Heating can be one of the largest expenditures for a protected cropping business. Fuel and equipment selection has a lifelong impact on production, CO2 availability, running costs and thereby the profitability and sustainability of any operation. An informed analysis before you dive in can improve the outlook of your business for years to come.

Ian Gesch

Energy and environment expert, Ian Gesch

Ian Gesch will speak on Emerging opportunities and challenges for CO2 enrichment. Australia’s changing energy and environment landscape  and our continued reliance on fossil fuels present both challenges and opportunities for horticulturists that use CO2 enrichment practices. This changing landscape will be discussed and information provided to help growers meet challenges and embrace opportunities.

Wade Mann

Nuffield Scholar and commercial grower, Wade Mann

Wade Mann (Aust), Nuffield Scholar 2015, will focus his presentation on IPM for greenhouse berry crops. With soaring demand for berry fruit, he will explore and assess IPM strategies globally to identify emerging and innovative technologies available for commercial application in the greenhouse hydroponic berry industry in Australia.

David Cavallaro from Stoller Australia will speak on How nutrients influence the growth of a plant.

Dr Sophie Parks

NSW DPI researcher, Dr Sophie Parks

Dr Sophie Parks, NSW DPI, will focus on Thinning flowers to influence berry size and flavour, and Consumer preferences for blueberries. Berry size can be increased and flavour can be enhanced by the removal (physical or chemical) of some flowers and fruits in blueberries. This topic will be discussed, based on research conducted by NSW DPI.

Dion Potter, Syngenta, will speak on Understanding disease resistance and crop protection, making them work for you.

Rick Donnan

Hydroponic consultant, Rick Donnan

Rick Donnan, Growool, will focus on Fundamentals of hydroponic management, and Start up solutions lead to easier nutrient management.

Nicky Mann, Nuffield Scholar 2014, will focus on Intensive berry production using greenhouses, hydroponics & substrates, along with Surviving and thriving in the Australian Flower industry.

Jonathan Lidbetter

NSW DPI researcher, Jonathan Lidbetter

Jonathan Lidbetter, NSW DPI, will talk on Cucumbers: Grafting and silicon, what you don’t know CAN  hurt you.

Mark Massey, Polito Flower Farms, will focus on Converting a flower farm from soil to hydroponics.

Developments and emerging technologies are driving innovation in global urban farming that will revolutionise local fresh food supplies. Graeme Smith, Graeme Smith Consulting, will speak on Vertical farming and Plant Factories and Artificial Lighting (PFAL) reports from recent conferences.

Graeme Smith

Hydroponic consultant, Graeme Smith

Graeme will also present on Fundamental principles of effective greenhouse management. For newer greenhouse growers, he will offer some key management insights into successful greenhouse and hydroponic farming, from a former grower and current industry adviser.

Marcus Van Heijst

Priva specialist, Marcus Van Heijst

Finally, Marcus Van Heijst, will focus on the Priva Deleafing Robot. The tomato industry is a very labour intensive industry, and Australia is certainly no exception. In fact, the tomato industry in Australia faces one of the highest comparable labour costs in the world. Priva has a solution to ease the burden of one of the most menial tasks a grower faces –  deleafing of tomato plants. Priva are developing the Kompano fully autonomous picking robot. Marcus will present the research that has led to the development of this robot.

Dion Potter

Syngenta marketing expert, Dion Potter

If you’re in the Protected Cropping industry or planning a career in the fastest growing horticultural sector – this is a ‘must-attend’ conference with great post-conference farm tours!

With only a couple of exhibition spaces remaining, trade suppliers are urged to act quickly to reserve space. For more information and Early Bird discounts (until April 30th), go to:  Ω

Posted 22 April 2017