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Speaker Program - Wednesday

2017 Highlights

 The 2017 Canadian Greenhouse Conference is bringing expertise from around the world to Niagara Falls.



thornton head shot 


Neil Thornton

Wednesday, October 4
"Creating a Culture of Engaged Teams"

Thursday, October 5
"Roadmap to Excellence - Drive Your Career"


Sponsored by: Farm Credit Canada  


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Carson Arthur
Host of HGTV's "Home to Win"

Thursday, October 5
TV Gardening Shows - On the endangered list?


Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Click here to view the program in a printable, easy-to-read chart format.



ROOM 201/202

 9:30 AM - 11:00 AM


This session generously sponsored by:  A.M.A.Plastics logo

Will Healy
Ball Horticulture Co.
Cincinnati, OH


Getting the Most Out of Your Seed

Getting the seed into the tray and synchronously germinating the seed is the key to the highest yields.  Will’s presentation on the current research on ways to improve seed performance and germination are the take aways from this fast paced talk.  It is the little tasks like tricks to getting the seed in the center of the cell, optimum covering techniques, answer to the question of “what’s more important water or temperature” that trigger success or failure.  If you have the right tasks in the wrong sequence what happens to your yields?  Making sure you do the key tasks in the right order is what will guarantee maximum yields.

Michael Brownbridge
Vineland Research & Innovation, ON

Starting Early is Starting Clean in Bedding Plants

The mantra of IPM is ‘start clean, and stay clean’. To be successful in biocontrol, actions need to be taken early and often before pests are readily detected in a crop. Biocontrol agents function most efficiently when pest numbers are low; they prevent damaging populations from developing. Furthermore, biocontrol agents will work best when deployed within a system that supports their success.

Jim Faust
Clemson University, SC

 The First 48 - Dealing with cuttings upon arrival

The first days in propagation are the most crucial to their success. The presentation will focus on your preparation for the cuttings, handling the cuttings prior to sticking, and the proper environment during the first days in propagation. Standard operating procedures will be outlined so that your spring season gets off on the right foot.

*approximately 30 minute sessions


ROOM 204


9:30 AM


This session generously sponsored by:  FCC Logo





Neil Thornton
Thornton Group


Leading Today’s Teams -Creating a Culture of Engaged Teams

In today’s workplace, driving change, strengthening culture and developing engaged teams remains a primary focus and concern for most, if not all greenhouse operations.  Your role as a manager, leader and coach is critical to the success of your people, customer service and business development focus.  This unique workshop will give you proven resources and ideas that you can apply quickly and effectively in your organization.

Our objectives include:

  • Real world tools from the trenches to engage people in the workplace
  • How to manage the different generations for success
  • How to get everyone to accept and drive change
  • Strengthen communications and leadership
  • How to find and keep great staff



ROOM 207/208

9:30 AM - 11:00 AM


 This session generously sponsored by 




David Gholami
Vineland Research & Innovation Centre, ON

Automation of Greenhouse Irrigation Systems

Given the importance of irrigation in greenhouse operation, automation of greenhouse irrigation system is the focus of many research studies, including the one conducted in Robotics and Automation department, Vineland Research and Innovation Centre. Much of the technology available in the market focuses on either scheduling of irrigation cycles based on fixed intervals, or bombarding the growers with myriads of sensory data which renders even more confusion and complexity. In Vineland, we focus on design and implementation of a smart irrigation system that collects and analyzes the sensory data, and provide the growers with a meaningful visualization of greenhouse plants’ conditions. It also can assist the growers in making the decisions as to where and when to irrigate. And finally, it provides the option of fully automatic irrigation with little or no human intervention.



Charles Grinnell
Harvest Automation Billerica, MA

 Robotics for Horticulture; opportunities & challenges

Automating manual labor tasks holds the promise of easing labor constraints, reducing injuries, and increasing product quality and consistency.   Many of the technologies needed to enable this automation are advancing at a rapid pace driven by other industries like automotive, cell phones, and computing.  So why don’t we see more robots helping in our operations today?


Robert Lando
Oberlin, OH 

Ad Kranendonk
Flier Systems
The Netherlands

 Newest Automation Technologies & A Look Into the Future

Kranendonk and Lando will provide examples of state-of-the-art automation utilized today in commercial greenhouses and nurseries.  These technologies are providing growers with improved plant quality, increased process control and are paid for through labour savings and labour requirement reductions.  What’s next in automation?  The speakers will provide their approach to R&D and what drives decisions about future automation development.

*Approximately 30 minute presentations




9:30 AM  - 11:00 AM


This session sponsored by:  fAFARD LOGO





David Llewellyn
University of Guelph


Youbin Zheng
University of Guelph

Instrumentation as Tools for Greenhouse Environment Control and Maximizing Crop Productivity

This workshop, will discuss the following topics as they relate to assessing the plant growing environment under greenhouse and indoor environmental conditions:

- Light intensity and quality meters (global radiation, lux, PAR, spectrometer)
- Temperature sensors (eg. non-contact and contact sensors)
- Humidity sensors (wet/dry bulb; capacity sensors), VPD concept
- Carbon dioxide and ethylene sensors (GC analysis in lab)
- Measuring soil and water EC and pH, nutrient concentration (ion specific           electrodes, HPLC analysis in lab)
- Dissolved oxygen
- Soil moisture
- Measuring physical properties of growing media, such as bulk density, water holding capacity;


There will be demonstrations throughout, with hand’s on opportunities






9:30 AM - 11:00 AM


This session generously sponsored by:  Emerson Grow logo



Xiuming Hao
AAFC Harrow, ON 


Smart Application of Lighting in Greenhouse Vegetable Production

Supplemental lighting not only affects plant growth and development but also has a major influence on greenhouse energy balance, plant nutrient requirement and microclimate, such as leaf surface temperature & humidity, which in turn also affects pest control and management.  Almost all aspects of crop production from cultivar selection, crop management (plant density, pruning etc.), fertigation management to climate control need to be adjusted to have a successful and sustainable year-round production with lighting. In this presentation, Dr. Xiuming Hao will report and discuss the latest findings from their research on various lighting strategies with the use of LEDs or LEDs & HPS, crop management , fertigation and climate control strategies to increase fruit yield and quality, light

Niki Bennett
Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers
Leamington, ON   

OGVG/OMAFRA Report - Supplemental Lighting in Ontario Greenhouse Vegetables

The presentation will discuss the final results of a 2-year pilot project on the use of supplemental lighting in vegetable greenhouses. Seven (7) different commercial sites in Ontario were included in the study and each pilot site comprised a different combination of variables (e.g. poly/glass, LED/HPS, produce grown, etc.) to evaluate the logistics and costs required to achieve year-round greenhouse vegetable production in Ontario.

Leo Marcelis Wageningen University
The Netherlands

LED it be: controlling plant production by LED light

The first 40-50% energy saving can be realised by a more efficient conversion of electricity into light by LEDs compared to HPS lamps. The next step is to design production concepts in which the plants use the light 30% more efficiently.  Learn More…

 *approximately 30 minute sessions

ROOM 201/202


2:00 PM - 3:30 PM



Will Healy
Ball Horticulture Co.
Cincinnati, OH

Handling Stage 3 & 4 Propagation

Plug production is about growing roots not shoots.  What are some of the tricks that we use to maximize root growth?  What drives roots to different parts of the root ball?  Can you increase root growth without increasing crop time?  Can you fertilize your way out of the problem or is it critical to have the right feed at the right time.  Will’s fast paced presentation will cover tricks and techniques we have developed over the last several years to address these issues.


Jim Faust
Clemson University, SC

Finishing Touches: Toning your Poinsettias

The poinsettia season is coming down the homestretch. This presentation will focus on the cultural practices that you need to implement to finish a beautiful poinsettia crop. The greenhouse environment, plant growth regulation, plant nutrition, Botrytis management and whitefly control will be discussed.


ROOM 204


2:00 PM - 3:30 PM


This session generously sponsored by   Svensson logo

Marco de Groot
The Netherlands

New Generation Growing for Cut Flowers 

A review of practical experience and results of trials in different cut flower crops

Graeme Murphy
bioLogical control solutions
Welland, ON

Starting a Biocontrol Program for Cut Gerbera

The presentation will describe how to begin and maintain a biological control program in cut gerbera and will include discussion on: crop characteristics relevant to biocontrol; pesticide residues; insect, mite and disease issues; appropriate biocontrol agents; compatible pesticides, environmental considerations; tying it all together. 

Marco de Groot
The Netherlands

 Supplemental Lighting Options

A review of practical experience and results of trials in different cut flower crops

 *approximately 30 minute sessions

ROOM 207/208

2:00 PM - 3:30 PM


Ron Sant
George Sant Greenhouses, Kleinburg, ON 

Products That Differentiate You from the Big Box Store

The marketplace is more competitive that ever and we need to find a way to make your business better and different so the consumer wants to buy your products or services.  Sant will talk about industry trends and what you can do to meet customer expectations.

Jane Beggs-Joles
Spring Meadow Nursery Inc.
Grand Haven, MI

A Hydrangea isn’t Just a Hydrangea:  Flowering Shrub Cultivars for the Future

You don’t use a rotary phone, so why grow rotary phone plants? Learn about new flowering shrub cultivars that grow and sell better than last century’s varieties. Read more…

Mike Colasanti
The Bloomin’ Gardener Oldcastle, ON

Make Your Garden Centre a Destination 

Colasanti will outline the challenges and offer solutions for garden centres who are growing and selling direct to customers while striving to be unique among competitors.

*approximately 30 minute sessions
 This session generously sponsored by 


2:00 PM - 3:30 PM


Aron Hoff
Meyers Farms
Niagara-on-the-Lake ON  

Managing Water: A Grower’s Perspective on Irrigation Options

In most greenhouses today, irrigation decisions come down to a couple of clicks on the mouse or taps on the phone screen.  Of course there were steps are taken prior to that final click or tap, and these steps go as far back as the initial decision over what type of irrigation system to install.  Join in the discussion of what has and hasn’t worked well for Meyers Farms with regards to irrigation systems, and, more importantly, how these irrigation systems have often made the grower’s life a little less stressful.

Jeanine West
Flowers Canada (Ontario)
Guelph, ON

Options in Water Treatment

Greenhouse and nursery operators need cost-effective flexible options to manage a variety of process waters that may discharge to natural watercourses and contribute to environmental issues.  Furthermore, with water security becoming an increasingly higher priority, farmers often wish instead to recirculate and reuse water generated through their operation but need to minimize the risk of spreading pathogens to their production area.  West reviews the outcomes of a project led by the Soil Resource Group and Flowers Canada (Ontario) Inc. that studied four hybrid treatment systems (HTS) combining denitrification woodchip bioreactors and vertical flow constructed wetlands with phosphorus removal media at commercial operations in Ontario. 

Ann Huber
Soil Resource Group Guelph, ON

Hands-on Water Testing – do you know what’s in your water?

Increasingly, Ontario’s horticultural industry is coming under more regulations regarding water and the industry needs to be prepared to meet these challenges; recycling is one way but the risk of pathogens in recycled water needs to be managed. Poor quality water can result in crop losses, crop quality reductions, and reduced profits. Routine hands-on   monitoring can help the grower identify when/where things might be going wrong before they really go wrong, but it needs to be simple, fast, and inexpensive. Read more…

 *approximately 30 minute sessions


2:00 PM - 3:30 PM


 Sponsored by:   fafard logo

Chevonne Carlow
OMAFRA, Vineland



Estimating Energy Savings in the Greenhouse (with GO_CALC)


Rupp Carriveau
University of Windsor, ON   

Greenhouse Solar Energy System to Reduce Carbon and Grid Dependency 

This presentation examines the technical and economic feasibility of a novel Solar Energy System (SES) designed to reduce dependency on carbon based fuels for heating and grid connected power for electricity. 

Leo Marcelis
Wageningen University
The Netherlands

Energy Saving in Greenhouses Based on Crop Physiology

Crop production per unit greenhouse area has doubled during the last 25 years in The Netherlands, while the energy use has been drastically reduced. In this presentation, it will be discussed how a proper understanding of the physiology of the plants can be used to improve production and reduce energy use.  Read more…

*approximately 30 minute sessions 



Looking for a presentation from our past conference?  Please note that not all speakers allow their work to be posted.

2015 Canadian Greenhouse Conference Presentations

2016 Canadian Greenhouse Conference Presentations