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Speaker Program - Thursday

2021 Program Highlights

The 2021  Canadian Greenhouse Conference will bring the experts to you!

Stay tuned - we will begin populating this program page shortly.  

Paid registration is required to access the live sessions (Oct. 6 & 7), supplementary resources, New Product Display and post-show recordings. 

Sessions will be recorded and available on the virtual conference platform for 90 days. A full-access registration will be required to log on to the platform after October 7.  Registration will remain open until January 6, 2022 and you may upgrade your basic registration at any time. 


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Zamir Punja, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC

Emerging Diseases of Cannabis & Management Approaches

Which diseases are currently affecting the cannabis industry in North America and effective strategies to mitigate their damage.

Don't miss this presentation and other important information in the Cannabis Production session on Thursday afternoon


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Sonia Benoit, Cascades

Shedding Light on Sustainable Packaging

What you need to know when looking for a packaging solution to lower your environmental footprint.

Check out the Sustainability Session on Thursday afternoon.



September 2021 Greenhouse Canada magazine 






Find complete show information PLUS general interest articles and industry connections in the 2021 Canadian Greenhouse Conference Show Guide.

Click on the image to view.

Thursday Morning Concurrent Sessions

9 am - 11 am



 This session sponsored by      

Suthaparan Aruppillai

Norwegian University of Life Sciences
Ås, Norway


Potential and Pitfalls of Optical Radiation (UV-visible and infrared) in Management of Powdery Mildew and Gray Mold

Powdery mildews and gray mold are the two most important fungal diseases can cause severe yield losses if not effectively managed. Use of fungicides are common practices in management of these diseases. Limited availability of resistant varieties, development of fungicide resistance pathogen isolates, consumer and environmental concerns demand for environmentally friendly alternatives for management of these diseases. Optical radiation, its interaction with plants and fungi, and its potential in management of these two important diseases will be discussed from experimental and practical point of view.

Jessica Fraser

University of Laval, QC

Modifying Parasitoid Behaviour with Artificial Light to Improve Biological Control of Aphids

Supplemental light in greenhouses is useful for improving yields, especially in winter when days are short and natural light intensity is low. LEDs can offer increased customizability in crop lighting, including precise control over the light’s colour composition. Although these lights are chosen for their impacts on plants, insects are also sensitive to their light environments. This is already exploited in several ways for pest management, such as through light trapping, pest deterrence, or the prevention of diapause. But can the growth lights used in greenhouses to optimize plant growth manipulate pests and their natural enemies in more subtle ways? My research examines the influence of the day length and colour composition of artificial light regimes on behaviour of parasitoids—and their pest control potential—while also accounting for the light’s impacts on their aphid hosts and the plants themselves. This talk will cover the first portion of my research, examining how LED illumination treatments of varied duration and colour composition affect the parasitoid biocontrol agent Aphidius matricariae and its host, the green peach aphid Myzus persicae, in growth chamber experiments. Wasps adjusted the timing of their daily movement in response to artificially-lengthened days and unnatural colour compositions, while no effects on aphid birth rate were observed.

Rose Labbe

Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada,
Harrow, ON

Optimizing Orius Performance in Greenhouses

Orius species predators represent indispensable thrips control agents on many greenhouse and vertically farmed crops. Despite this, variability in the seasonal crop establishment potential and pest management performance for Orius predators continue to represent major challenges to achieving effective year-round crop protection. In this talk, Labbe will examine some of the strategies explored to improve the short-season efficacy of this predator. These include the use of supplemental green or blue LED lights, or the use of different geographic strains to minimize this natural enemy’s diapause response and maximize its crop pest control potential.

Sarah Jandricic

Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs, Vineland, ON

Going Towards the Light: Mass trapping and LED lights

Changes in production – such as switching from HPS to LED lights – can give growers a needed boost in plant growth and quality. But what do we know about how these changes impact pests and IPM? This talk looks at the effects of lighting choices on key pests and beneficials when it comes to mass trapping and monitoring using coloured sticky traps.

 *Approximately 30 minute presentations



This session sponsored by      

Roger Kehoe

Eason Horticultural Resources

 Vegetative Propagation

New and improved genetics grown from vegetative propagation have exploded in the past two decades. Precision propagation is required to  get the crop off to a good start, and Roger has some tips for focusing on critical processes for profitability. Discussion will cover annuals, perennials and some foliage and tropical items, and how to optimize rooting rates, uniformity, and minimize shrink and unpredictable results. The industry has some new technology available which will be presented, and some great old ideas that work well but have been forgotten. This presentation will help sort through the various decisions that need to be made for planning profitable results.

Jerry Gorchels

PanAmerican Seed Co.

Getting the Most Out of Germination

Gorchels will discuss the most optimal conditions for germination with an emphasis more difficult crops like Begonia, Vinca and Pentas 

Sarah Miner

Roelands Plant Farm
Lambton Shores, ON

Biosecurity in Plant Propagation 

Looking at the ins and outs of biosecurity within plant propagation. How propagation is keeping things clean right from the start!

Erik Runkle

Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI  USA

Light Quality Regulates Growth of Young Plants

Light quality refers to the color, or spectrum, of a light source. It can influence plant growth and quality characteristics, and in some cases flowering too. Runkle will provide an overview of how the different colors (wavebands) of light influence growth of young plants grown in vertical farms and greenhouses. You can use this information to help determine what light spectrum is appropriate for your indoor or greenhouse lighting application.

 *30 minute presentations



This session sponsored by      

Heike Scholz-Döbelin

IPM Specialist,
Chamber of Agriculture, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany

Experience with ToBRFV in Germany: infestation, eradication & prevention

The first European infestation of tomato brown rugose fruit virus (ToBRFV) in Germany occurred in autumn of 2018. Discovered by monitoring it spread dramatically. Quarantine measures were taken, and a disinfection plan was developed with cooperation between different organizations, authorities and farmers with the motivation to achieve complete eradication. After sampling during the 2019 crop, ToBRFV was subsequently declared eradicated from Germany.


This presentation explains origin, worldwide distribution, transmission and importance and potential for damage of ToBRFV. Symptoms, being very dependent on variety, are discussed in more detail. Advice provided to German growers includes practical implementation of prevention measures, demonstrated by examples from German greenhouses. Recommendations and measures in case of infestation or suspected infestation are discussed, including measures for disinfection and eradication.

Trevor Charles

Metagenom Bio Life Science Inc. University of Waterloo, ON

Healthy Hydroponics: A new microbiome surveillance service for food safety & crop protection

Soil microbes play important roles in crop health and productivity, but soils are usually not used in controlled environment agriculture, and there is a general lack of knowledge about the microbiome in these systems. The Healthy Hydroponics project aims to refine and implement rapid culture-independent monitoring for controlled environment vegetable production systems, with capability to track both plant pathogens and foodborne pathogens, as well as to learn more about the microbiome profiles and functions. Widespread adoption of such a monitoring program by Ontario vegetable growers could contribute to more accurate and efficient crop disease and food safety control, resulting in increased yield and quality, reduction of waste, and improved food safety management. We are constructing a database of microbiome profiles of operating commercial hydroponic systems, and developing methods for more robust, accurate and sensitive microbiome monitoring. Several Canadian growers have been enrolled in the program as participants. In this presentation we will report on the first year of data collection and analysis.    

Bri-Anna Jaksic

IPM Scoutek
Windsor, ON

IPM Technology Enables IPM Strategy

IPM Technology will continue to drive IPM strategy as the needs of growers change with the ever increasing pressures from industry growth, labour issues, climate change, impacts of pest pressure and 24/7 lighting. The industry needs technology now more than ever.


Thursday Afternoon Concurrent Sessions

12 pm - 1 pm EST
2 pm - 4 pm EST



This session sponsored by      


Diane Blazek

All-American Selections & National Garden Bureau 




Program & Resources to Help Garden Centres SELL MORE PLANTS

As the Executive Director of both All-America Selections and National Garden Bureau, Blazek has the information, experience, and insight to help garden centres advance their marketing efforts.  Find out how the AAS logo can help you sell more plants and how resources available from the National Garden Bureau can save you time and money.

Kerry Meyer

Proven Winners

Catching the Customer's Eye - Trends in Container Gardening

We will discuss the latest trends that are emerging for those who prefer to garden in containers and we’ll also review the needs of new gardeners who are still learning the basics in this area. We will wrap up the presentation with common questions gardeners ask, based on the questions we receive regularly from consumers.

 *30 minute presentations



  This session sponsored by      



Highlights from the 2021

Research Poster Session


To view all the reports visit

Raj Vansiya

Agriculture & Agri-food Canada
Vineland Station, ON

Monitoring ToBRFV in Greenhouses Using Bumblebees

The tobamovirus Tomato brown rugose fruit virus (ToBRFV) is a devastating pathogen of tomatoes. ToBRFV is a highly regulated virus around the world due to its severe ability to impact tomato production and marketability. Recently, two ToBRFV outbreaks were identified at commercial greenhouses in Ontario and Quebec. Due to the high transmission rate of ToBRFV, early detection of infection and regular monitoring is imperative for limiting spread. Bumblebees are commonly used as pollinators in greenhouses and visit multiple plant individuals to collect pollen to return to the hive. ToBRFV is present in pollen grains derived from infected plants, and monitoring for ToBRFV in greenhouses using bees can be more efficient than manual screening for symptoms. Commercial bumblebee hives were collected from ToBRFV infected greenhouses to evaluate different detection methods. RNA sequencing of bumblebees allowed for the detection of Tomato ringspot virus, Pepino Mosaic Virus, ToBRFV, and many others. These suggests that plants within the greenhouse may be infected with some of the viruses detected. ImmunoStrip tests can be conducted on to pinpoint specific plants which are infected. To determine the limits of detection through bee samples, an experimental system using Pepino mosaic virus is currently being developed. The use of bees as a sample material allows for quick and accurate detection of pathogens within agricultural systems and can be developed into an easy-to-use monitoring system for growers and researchers.

Alexander Nauta

University of Guelph, ON

Development & Evaluation of a New Greenhouse Energy Model with Data from Four Ontario Greenhouses

Modelling the energy use and interior conditions of a greenhouse can be an important tool for growers, making it possible to assess the impact of changes to the greenhouse systems and operation, potentially identifying ways to save money on energy costs. In this study, a lumped capacitance thermal model is developed to simulate greenhouse interior conditions based on exterior weather and operating settings. Heat and moisture transport equations were applied to each layer of the model, with the corresponding change in temperature or absolute humidity calculated at each time step. Measured time-series data from four different greenhouses in southern Ontario were used to evaluate model performance. The measured interior temperature and relative humidity data were used to evaluate the accuracy of the model simulations, while other measured data, such as wind speed and solar radiation, were used as model inputs. Physical properties of the greenhouses were included in the model. Some required parameters, such as the infrared emissivity of the glazing, were sourced primarily from literature. The studied greenhouses included two commercial greenhouses and two smaller, passive greenhouses. Simulations of the commercial greenhouses accounted for the presence of energy curtains, evaporative cooling pads, forced ventilation, crop evapotranspiration, supplementary lights and heating, and a CO2 burner. The simulations and evaluation results for each greenhouse will be presented. It was found that the current model version has comparable or better accuracy than prior models in the literature. Plans to apply the model in a predictive mode to examine potential energy efficiency improvement by adding technology or changing operating protocols will also be briefly presented.

Ashley Summerfield

Vineland Research & Innovation Centre
Vineland, ON

Peeling Back the Layers of Onion Thrips IPM

Over the last several years, Onion thrips (OT) have been an emerging pest in greenhouse ornamentals. Biocontrol-based IPM programs that usually work well for western flower thrips (WFT) haven't been as effective for OT, leaving growers little choice but to apply insecticides. Due to our reliance on biologicals to manage WFT and other pests, frequent pesticide use is not a sustainable long-term solution. Knowing which parts of the WFT IPM programs are effective for OT management can help us develop a more effective program for this pest.  In this study, the core components of the WFT IPM program - predatory mites and biopesticides - were tested against both OT and WFT in laboratory and greenhouse trials. Results presented compare how biocontrol agents perform against each thrips species to indicate how IPM strategies may be modified for greenhouses that are struggling to manage OT.

Taro Saito

Vineland Research & Innovation Centre
Vineland, ON

A New Biocontrol Agent: Generalist Predatory Mite Anystis Baccarum

Anystis baccarum is a globally distributed generalist predatory mite which reproduces without mating. The mite eats a broad range of pests, including western flower thrips, foxglove aphids, spider mites, echinothrips, and mealybugs. In laboratory trials, A. baccarum not only out-performed both Neoseiulus cucumeris and Amblyseius swirskii against all larval and adult stages of western flower thrips, but also readily consumed all foxglove aphid life stages with preference for the first instars. In greenhouse trials, significantly better control of thrips and two-spotted spider mites was obtained on chrysanthemums when A. baccarum was used together with N. cucumeris sachets. On greenhouse sweet peppers, combined releases of A. baccarum and Aphidius ervi effectively eliminated foxglove aphids, and higher fruit yields were obtained compared to plants protected by the parasitoids only. The mite also fed on naturally occurring thrips during the trial, reducing thrips feeding damage on the fruits. The results demonstrated that A. baccarum will be a useful addition to greenhouse IPM programs.

Although the mass rearing of A. baccarum was once deemed not economical due to the high cannibalism rate, we have successfully developed a prototype product, and now our project partner, Applied Bio-nomics Inc. is currently developing a production line. 

Brian Lynch

Vineland Research & Innovation Centre
Vineland, ON

Computer Modelling of Cucumber (Cucumis Sativus) Plant Structure

Computer simulations are a useful tool for many applications, most notably robotics and automation systems development. Building a simulated model of a robot, its surrounding environment, and the interaction between the two can provide a means of testing design concepts and control processes without the risks associated with using real-world systems. This is especially true in the development of robotics and automation solutions for horticulture, where mistakes can be costly during testing as plants take time to grow and can be prone to damage by a robot. By providing a simulated environment for testing, the methods used for tasks such as automated harvesting can be developed through iterative design more easily, without risk, and free of the time constraints of growing or regenerated plants. This poster presents a computer model developed at Vineland Research and Innovation Centre for use within our robotic cucumber harvesting project. The plant structure of the cucumber plant (cucumis sativus) is modeled using an L-systems approach, which treats the growth of the plant similar to a fractal structure. Elements of the plant such as internodes, leaves, and fruit are prescribed empirical equations that capture their size over time and are evolved as the plant grows from seedling to its full size. Coefficients for these equations are fitted from measurements of real plants to mimic the true plant structure matching its growth in our greenhouse environment. Furthermore, we include modelling of the high-wire growing technique including lowering and de-leafing, resulting in a virtual crop that can be used for simulating vision and robotics systems interacting with the model for harvesting.



This session generously sponsored by:  plant products logo

Brittany Harris

Plant Products
Leamington, ON

Successful IPM in Greenhouse Strawberries: Thrips strategies

Don’t let pests cause a Straw-ggle, get the Berry Best Out of your IPM Program

Thrips remain one of the most challenging pests around the world and managing them be overwhelming. Harrris will dive into IPM challenges that Strawberry growers are facing with an extensive focus on thrips management.

Chieri Kubota

Ohio State University
Columbus, OH

Overview of Greenhouse Strawberry Production Technologies

In order to maximize the potential benefit of producing strawberries in greenhouse, further development of technologies is necessary in the areas of high-quality transplant production, substrate optimization, climate control, flowering/pollination control, pest/disease management, and greenhouse strawberry cultivar development. Understanding strawberry plant physiology under controlled environment is particularly important to improve the productivity and to contribute to future breeding efforts to develop strawberry cultivars more suitable for greenhouse-controlled environment. 

Rose Labbe

Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada, Harrow, ON

Greenhouse Buzziness Potential: Using bee vectoring to suppress pests on greenhouse strawberries

There’s a new way to control pests on greenhouse strawberries and it involves your bumblebee pollinators.  By placing a small amount of microbial biocontrol agent in specially designed trays within beehives, growers can create an auto-dissemination system for consistently delivering pest fighting agents throughout the crop. In this talk, Labbe will cover some of the findings of a 2019 study by University of Guelph in collaboration with AAFC and a commercial greenhouse strawberry producer, that show how bumblebees can effectively disperse a formulation of Beauveria bassiana to flowers, leaves, and fruit throughout a greenhouse strawberry crop. Furthermore, this tool was shown to have negligible effects on carrier bumblebees.  Given these results, this new tool just might be one of the future ways growers choose to manage pests on greenhouse strawberries in Canada.


Peter Melis

Proefcentrum Hoogstraten, Belgium


Optimal Lighting Strategy for Winter Strawberry Cultivation in Belgium

*30 minute presentations




1:30 - Greenhouse Technology Award Winners

Meet the winners of the 2021 Greenhouse Technology Awards. Debuting this year, the program recognizes products or services demonstrating a high level of innovation in advancing Canada's greenhouse and controlled environment agriculture sectors.

Presented by    greenhouse canada logo            Sponsored by    CGC logo



This session sponsored by      

Rodd Gibson

Jeffery’s Greenhouses,
St. Catharines, ON

Automation at Jeffery’s Greenhouses

Jeffery’s Greenhouse is a leading grower and supplier of bedding, container, and seasonal potted plants to retail customers across Ontario and Upper New York State. They are known throughout the industry for their consistent quality products and services. General Manager, Rodd Gibson, shares Jeffery’s past, present and future automation projects.

Leigh Coulter

GGS Structures Inc.,
Vineland Station, ON

 Advances in Greenhouse Structures & Technology



Brian Lynch

Vineland Research & Innovation Centre, ON

Automated Cucumber Harvesting

Labour is one of the largest costs for greenhouse operators with harvesting comprising a large portion of that labour. In Canada, cucumbers are in the top three vegetable greenhouse crops in terms of farm gate value, yield, and acreage. Although most greenhouse cucumber growers use the umbrella growing technique, there is a trend towards using the high-wire technique to achieve higher yield and quality. At Vineland Research and Innovation Centre, we are currently developing an automated robotic cucumber harvesting system for use on long English varieties grown using the high-wire technique. The intention of this effort is to demonstrate the core technologies needed to harvest with a robotic system that achieves a high performance level with a reasonable return on investment. This presentation will introduce viewers to the overall problem, our research and development strategy, the current solution architecture and its components, and recent testing results obtained at our experimental greenhouse facility.

Warren Russel

Carson, CA


Nanobubble Water Treatment Technology for Better Yields

Improved plant health and yield starts with optimal water quality and nanobubble enriched water produces proven results. See the latest case studies and data from research institutions and our greenhouse, vertical farm, and controlled environment agriculture customers, and learn how our nanobubble generators have helped hundreds of growers. Discover how nanobubbles: Improve root health, enhance nutrient absorption, suppress pathogens, biofilms and algae, reduce cultivation time, prevent pathogens such as Pythium, Phytophthora, and Fusarium and have the potential to increase yield by up to 56%.




This session sponsored by      

Youbin Zheng,

University of Guelph, ON

Improving Cannabis Yield & Potency

Zheng will discuss how to use horticultural strategies to increase cannabis yield and potency (here refers to cannabinoid and terpene contents). The horticultural strategies will include fertilization, irrigation, growing media and production system selections, and lighting (e.g., light intensity and spectra, UV application). The talk will be based on the newest published and not published scientific research and is intended for all cannabis cultivators, new and well established.


Kevin Cullum,

Koppert Biological Systems,
Surrey, BC

Aphid Apocalypse - Biocontrol Strategies for Cannabis Aphid

Since the start of large scale licensed cannabis production in Canada, Cannabis Aphid (Phorodon cannabis) has emerged as a devastating pest with no simple solutions. Kevin Cullum walks you through the nightmarish scope of this pest’s reach in the Cannabis industry and lays out the latest IPM and biological control strategies to get you out of the Aphid Apocalypse.

Bill Van Heyst,

University of Guelph, ON

Vicki Hilborn,

Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food & Rural Affairs, Guelph, ON

Addressing Odour, Light & Noise Nuisances from Cannabis Production

Similar to other types of agriculture, cannabis can be a source of nuisance concerns for neighbours, including odour, light and noise from generators and truck traffic.  This session will cover recent research and best practices to reduce the impact of nuisances and how to respond if an operation receives complaints.

Zamir Punja

Simon Fraser University,
Burnaby, BC

 Emerging Diseases of Cannabis & Management Approaches

Cultivation of cannabis plants (Cannabis sativa L., marijuana) has taken place worldwide for centuries. In Canada, legalization of cannabis in October 2018 for medicinal and recreational markets has spurned interest in large-scale growing, both in greenhouses and controlled environment facilities. This increased production has seen a rise in the incidence and severity of plant pathogens, causing a range of previously unreported diseases. The objective of this presentation is to highlight the important diseases currently affecting the cannabis industry in North America and to discuss various mitigation strategies.

*30 minute presentations

On-Demand presentations will be accessible through the virtual conference platform. Registration required.

Workplace Safety & Prevention Services How & Why to Produce Your Own short Training Video for Greenhouse Growers

Scott Inman,

Mycorrhizal Applications, Grants Pass, Oregon, USA

Harness the Power of Mycorrhizae in Greenhouse & Nursery Production

Mycorrhizal fungi are the superstars in your soil or growing media ecosystem. These beneficial symbiotic soil organisms partner with your plants to create root-and-mycelial structures known as mycorrhizae, which play a large and complex role in boosting the development and adaptation of approximately 95% of plant species on the planet. Learn why mycorrhizae are important for plant vitality, and how these symbiotic organisms can improve plant nutrient uptake and utilization, increase nutrient availability, maximize water utilization, build soil structure and health, and much more. You will also learn how green industry professionals can utilize this natural, organic, sustainable technology in their own professional operations, review frequently asked questions regarding this technology, and discuss how plant producers can adjust their growing protocols to take full advantage of the mycorrhizal benefits and maximize return on investment

Quade Digweed,

Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada, Harrow, ON

Blackout Curtains, Energy Capture & Microclimate

Greenhouse blackout curtains primary function is to prevent stray light from exiting the greenhouse. However, these curtains also restrict heat and moisture from escaping the greenhouse. While energy saving is generally a good thing, what are the options to control excess heat and humidity buildup when blackout curtains are required? Blackout curtain work at the Harrow Research and Development Center is focused on developing new curtain management, energy capture, and dehumidification options for growers, with an emphasis on microclimate-based control. This presentation will share bench-scale and preliminary greenhouse trials of various energy management systems to help reduce crop stress resulting from blackout curtain use, while also saving energy.

Ana M. Pastrana,

Vineland Research & Innovation Centre, ON

Use of Biostimulants to Control Greenhouse Diseases

Plants are exposed to different biotic and abiotic stresses, which often result in a decline in crop production. Plant diseases are one of the most common problems in agriculture worldwide. The use of chemical-based products and resistant cultivars have been widely reported to control many plant diseases. However, there is a need for alternative solutions to control them because there may be no resistant cultivars for certain pathogens and because regulatory and environmental concerns make the future use of chemicals uncertain.

 Biostimulants have become very popular in Canada in the last decades. A plant biostimulant is defined as any substance or microorganism applied to plants with the aim to enhance nutrition efficiency, abiotic stress tolerance and/or crop quality traits, regardless of its nutrient content (Du Jardin, 2015).  Many of these biostimulants also boost the plant immune system, and therefore can be exploited to fight against plant diseases. At Vineland, we are evaluating the use of biostimulants to protect greenhouse tomatoes against bacterial canker and powdery mildew and will present some of our preliminary results.


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

2020 Canadian Greenhouse Conference Presentations

2019 Canadian Greenhouse Conference Presentations

2018 Canadian Greenhouse Conference Presentations