Commercial Hydroponic Crop Production

Industry TrainingThis is a short course that will enable participants to understand the basic principles of commercial hydroponic and greenhouse crop production.

Course Type: Short-Course (for day &/or night delivery) and can be delivered at certificate II, III or IV level as required.

Cost: POA

Location: Various

Facilitator: Graeme Smith Consulting

Course Modules:             As Follows:

(23 x modules + 3 others under development)

Nominal Duration:           2.5 hours per module (approx)

1. Module Title:             LOCATION, SITING & LAYOUT

Module Purpose:             On completion of this module, participants will be able to assess a site for suitability for hydroponic growing, and design a basic site layout plan.      Module Content:          

 - Location & Siting
- Climate, Topography and Aspect
- Surrounding Site Vegetation
- Services Availability
- Land Zoning & Permits
- Site Security
- Proximity to Markets
- Layout of Facility Requirements (packing shed, plant room, fertigation room, general office, etc)
 - Relationship & Positioning of Structures

2. Module Title:             GREENHOUSE STRUCTURES & ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT

Module Purpose:             On completion of this module, participants will be able to identify basic greenhouse structure types and their application, and understand the principal factors affecting environmental management.

Module Content:            
- Greenhouse Types
- Single-Span & Multi-Span Igloo
- Single-Span & Multi-Span Gable
- Skillion
- Sawtooth
- Gothic Arch
- Dutch Venlo

Principal Factors Affecting Greenhouse Design Developments & Environmental Management
- Greenhouse Environment & Plant Microclimate
- Shape, Height, Ventilation & Covering Materials
- Managing the Greenhouse Environment

3.) Module Title:             WATER QUALITY, EC & PH

Module Purpose:             On completion of this module, participants will be able to assess water quality, characteristics of different treatment systems and their application, and understand the principal factors involving EC & pH.

Module Content:            
- Water Quality & Treatment Systems
- Aspects of Water Quality
- Water Treatment Systems
- Principle Factors affecting EC & PH
- Conductivity of Nutrient Solutions
- pH of Nutrient Solutions

4.) Module Title:             BASIC HYDROPONIC SYSTEMS

Module Purpose:             On completion of this module, participants will be able to identify basic hydroponic system types and their application, and understand the principal factors affecting hydroponic systems.

 Module Content:            
- Systems Types
- Open Systems
- Closed Systems
Principal Factors affecting hydroponic systems
- Root Zone Environment
- Oxygen
- Temperature
- Capital, Installation & Running Costs
- Maintenance Required
- Crop Changeover Management
- Hygiene
- General Management

 5.) Module Title:             CROP VARIETIES, MEDIA TYPES & CHARACTERISTICS

Module Purpose:             On completion of this module, participants will be able to assess crop varieties, media types, characteristics, and their application, and understand the principal factors affecting their selection.

 Module Content:            
- Commercial Crop Varieties
- Flowers
- Vegetables
- Principal Factors affecting media selection
- Media Characteristics
- Media Types

 6.) Module Title:             PLANT STRUCTURE, NUTRITION & NUTRIENT MANAGEMENT

 Module Purpose:             On completion of this module, participants will be able to assess plant structure, photosynthesis, nutrition, characteristics of different root-zone factors and their application, and understand the principal factors involving Nutrient Management (including basic formula calculations).

 Module Content:            
- Plant Structure
- Plant & Flower Parts
- Photosynthesis, Respiration/Transpiration
- Plant Nutrition
- Root-Zone Factors & Solutions
- Water & Nutrient Uptake
- Nutrient Management
- Solutions for Closed & Open Systems
- Irrigation Control Methods
- Basic Formulae Calculations

 7.) Module Title:             COMMON PESTS, DISEASES, & IPM

 Module Purpose:             On completion of this module, participants will be able to assess common pests and characteristics of different diseases, and understand the principal factors involving Integrated Pest Management

 Module Content:            
- Common Pests & Weed Management
- Common Diseases
- Fungi
- Bacteria
- Viruses
- Nematodes
- Integrated Pest Management

 8.) Module Title:             QUALITY ASSURANCE, OH&S, IT & PRODUCTION PLAN

 Module Purpose:             On completion of this module, participants will be able to assess QA & OH&S programs, appreciate the management benefits of Information Technology and develop their own Production Plan

  Module Content:            
- Quality Assurance
- SQF 2000 Quality Code
- Occupational, Health & Safety
- Sample OH&S Policy
- Information Technology
- Sample IT Files
- Develop a Production Plan
- Production Scheduling Time-Line

 Latest Training Module Titles

 9.) Light, A plants eye view.
Explores the way light interacts with horticultural crops and its connection to plant physiology & environmental management

 10.) Irrigation, media's manager.
Explores the impact irrigation strategies have on growing media and crop production (includes EC, pH, Water Content & Drain %)

 11.) Crop Registration, A professional approach to growing.
Explores the monitoring, recording and responding approach to good crop balance (includes "reading" a crop and tools to change)

12.) Plant Management, physical & cultural requirements.
Explores best-practice techniques for best production (includes crop management planning, pollinating, de-leafing, truss pruning, cluster treatment, tying up, layering, picking, etc.)

 13.) Recirculation, How to convert to a closed system.
Explores how to convert a media based free-drainage system to a recirculation system. Demonstrates how growers can easily save 40+% on water use, 40+% on fertilizer use, maintain a balanced root-zone nutrition and become environmentally sound & responsible.

 14.) CO2 enrichment of greenhouses.
Explores the benefits, costs, geometry and equipment required to correctly enrich a greenhouse with carbon dioxide for maximum crop growth & quality.

 15.) Practical EC & pH Measurements in Crops
Explores the best-practice methods of pH & EC monitoring (inc measurement & recording techniques) and contains a sample testing schedule.

 16.) Implement a Hydroponic Maintenance Program
Monitor plant health, monitor the Hydroponic environment, monitor the nutrient solution, perform routine maintenance checks, maximising greenhouse efficiency and energy conservation.

 17.) Implement A Plant Establishment Program
Explores crop selection, plant populations, seedling propagation & marketing requirements

 18.) Implement a Pests & Diseases Control Program for Hydroponic Systems
Explores common pests & diseases of hydroponic systems and a suitable spray system for greenhouses crops

 19.) Implement An IPM Program
Explores IPM strategies for greenhouse crops and how to implement bio-controls to control common greenhouse pests (ie. spider mites, whitefly, thrips, fungus gnats, aphid, russet mite, broad mite, caterpillars, etc)

 20.) New Greenhouse Investment & Technology Considerations
Explore typical greenhouse technology, their costs and why they are used. Compare typical system prices for 1,000 and 10,000m2, and a Cost of Production worksheet for growers to calculate their costs versus income. (ie. profit &/or loss expressed in both $/kg and $/m2)

 21.) Implement a Plant Nutrition Program
Gain skills in monitoring system EC & pH levels, determine plant nutritional problems, prepare fertilisers for use and apply specific fertiliser recipes and application rates

22.) Crop Protection Principles
Explore best practice techniques in chemical (and other) in crop protection using dripping, spraying / fogging / LVM, dusting, sulphur evaporators, traps (lamps, lights, glue, pheromones), calculating horizontal and vertical spraying speed and the characteristics of a good greenhouse or hydroponic spray system

23.) Operate Pressurised Irrigation Systems
Learn to operate a pressurised irrigation system, implement an irrigation program, monitor irrigation test stations and perform maintenance of irrigation systems

 Training Modules Currently Under Development!

24.) Select chemicals & biological agents

25.) Participate in a virtual community

 26.) Monitor weather conditions