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Speaker Program - Thursday

Looking forward to seeing you in October

The 2023  Canadian Greenhouse Conference will bring the experts to you!


Thursday, October 5th

View the program in a printable, easy-to-read chart format 


Thursday Morning Concurrent Sessions

9:30 AM - 11:00 AM


 9:30 AM 



Katie Goldenhar
Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs


Diagnosing Diseases - From Sampling to Making Informed Management Decisions  

Plant diseases are caused by microscopic organisms (fungi, bacteria, viruses, oomycetes) making them inherently difficult to confidently diagnose without the help of a diagnostician. Some diseases, like powdery mildew, we can diagnose based on the symptoms and signs of the pathogen alone, but many diseases, like root rots or those caused by bacteria or viruses, cannot be diagnosed based on symptoms alone. To best inform management decisions, diagnosing a disease can require the help of a diagnostic lab. This talk will discuss best sampling practices for plant and water samples, reviewing modern lab diagnostics and report interpretation and limitations.

Ana Maria Borda
Clemson University


Disease Control in Ornamentals Using Biocontrols

The use of fungicides to control diseases in ornamental plants has been a general practice used by growers. However, emerging resistance to multiple fungicides with different modes of action is of increasing concern due to the inability of growers to control this pathogen with common fungicides. We have evaluated several biological control agents against Botrytis cinerea on petunia and cut rose flowers. The products have been evaluated alone or in combination to study possible synergistic effects. The efficacy of the products against botrytis depended on the product type. Moreover, the time of application prior to botrytis inoculation (infection) influenced the efficacy of the product. Our results provide a management strategy for growers to use in addition to conventional fungicides or as an option to reduce the number of fungicide applications and thus reduce the selection pressure for fungicide resistance.

Alicain Carlson
Syngenta Flowers


Breeding for Resilience

The need for plants to be able to withstand stress or recover from them quickly is a necessity now more than ever in the horticulture industry. From disease resistance to tolerance to heat, cold, and drought the stressors in the plant world are challenging to breed against. Join this session to learn about Syngenta Flowers’ breeding goals to bring the most resilient genetics to the industry.

 *Approximately 30-minute presentations

 9:30 AM


This session is sponsored by


Carlos H. Umana
BASF Nunhems

Can High-Tech Lettuce Reshape the North American Leafy's Market?

The leafy's market in North America is transforming due to the rapid expansion of innovative hydroponic systems. Even if the market participation of lettuce from CEA remains small compared to produce from open-field, new fundamentals are reshaping brand promises and consumer expectations.

Enhanced growing systems, robotization, and decades of focused breeding in CEA have pivoted toward an improved understanding of what high-quality lettuce should mean to consumers.

This fast-paced evolution brings significant investments as new and old players seek a place in the market, moving away from traditional standards.

We will dissect and explain the fundamentals of such changes and the challenges ahead.

Sonny Moerenhout

Achieving ROI with a Hi-tech Hydroponic Lettuce / Leafy Greens Growing Facility

Hydro lettuce projects in young industries with no proven standards (as in tomato and cucumber) are extra challenging for making deliberate decisions regarding the set-up of your operation. Growing systems have to be designed to meet the needs of the plant and the desired end product at hand. There is no best way of growing, and every system is unique, but with our customers and partners, we always come to tailor-made solutions. The needs of the desired crop can lead to indoor, greenhouse, or even vertical farming facilities. Start with a solid business plan, and know what the market is requesting. Followed by the right choices in growing the system and creating efficient system integration. Striving for yield & quality will help to create an ROI.


Stephen Murch
Hoogendorn Growth Management


The Lettuce Leap: Exploring Automated Production and Innovations

Join me as we leap to the forefront of indoor lettuce cultivation! We will explore the innovations and visionary projects revolutionizing lettuce production. Together we will discover the diverse landscape of growing systems employed in greenhouses and indoor farms. Uncover the power of intelligent automation in these facilities and how it maintains delicate plant balances. As a result, you'll discover the immense benefits of optimized resource utilization, amplified yields, superior quality, and bolstered plant resilience against pests and diseases. Prepare for a discussion that touches on various related subjects.


 9:30 AM 




10-minute presentations

Sebastian Leroux
Ipsum Vision

Computer Vision in Greenhouse Industry – An Open Field of Capabilities!

Software is a big part of our lives and farming is not left aside. The biggest issue is to make data input as easy and smooth as possible. When there is a need to collect a mass amount of data, we can leverage Computer vision to lightweight user data input. The biggest advantage is consistency and accuracy in detection when the model is well-trained. There is a need for training farming-specific detection models.

We started with insects which are not the easiest due to their small size (meaning fewer pixels to process detection). We can train any specific model and we work with growers to fulfill the need for specific environment use cases like quality control for example.

Carrie Izsak
IPM Scoutek


Data-Driven IPM: The Key Leading Indicators That Make The Difference  

Unlock the potential of Data-Driven IPM by delving into Key Leading Indicators. Discover the essential indicators to monitor and the crucial role of effective data visualization in achieving IPM success. Harness the power of technology to decipher complex information and patterns, empowering yourself with the knowledge to proactively address pest issues. Witness enhanced crop yields and forge a sustainable future in agriculture. Join us to embark on this transformative journey.

Erika Verrier


Data-Driven Crop Steering: Automating Tomato Crop Registration with AI

Crop registration is essential to identify the vegetative or generative nature of plants, and support growers in achieving long-term production goals with more efficient inputs like labor and utilities. The industry is facing skilled labor and talent shortages, yet the need for data-driven decisions has never been more important. Current data collection methods are time consuming, and often not representative of the full crop. Using computer vision and artificial intelligence, tomato growers can pair environmental metrics with crop metrics, and collect data more comprehensively across their entire crop.

Cara McCreary
Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs

Digital IPM tools: Ontario Crop Protection Hub and Crop IPM  

OMAFRA has developed new digital tools to help with IPM decision-making and training. The Ontario Crop Protection Hub can provide application details on registered pesticides, and some insights into efficacy and side effect potential of biocontrol agents. Crop IPM can give greenhouse staff access to specific information about pests including damage, biology, management tactics, and identification tools. In this talk, I will outline how to access these tools and provide some informative highlights.

Roselyne Labbe
Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada

Highlights of the IOBC 2023 meeting in Brest, France

Starting on August 27th, the 2023 IOBC (International Organization of Biological Control) met in Brest, France. During this one-week event, 200 scientists and experts in integrated pest management in protected crops came together to discuss the latest innovations and scientific breakthroughs from theory to practice related to greenhouse crop protection. In this talk, Dr. Labbe from AAFC’s Harrow Research and Development Centre will give an overview of some of the key information and highlights of this meeting, which fostered knowledge exchange among experts from Mediterranean and temperate climates.

Hannah Fraser
Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs

Spot it? Snap it, Catch it, Report it! Prepare to Meet the Spotted Lanternfly

The spotted lanternfly (SLF) is an invasive sap-feeding planthopper native to Asia.  First identified in Pennsylvania in 2014, it has spread to at least 14 states as of June 2023.  The spotted lanternfly was added to the CFIA’s list of regulated pests in 2018.  While live specimens have not been found in Canada, active populations have been found across the Ontario border in New York and Michigan.  Long-distance spread to new areas is typically associated with people inadvertently moving overwintering egg masses.  Females lay eggs indiscriminately on just about any flat surface, including host and non-host plants, shipping containers, stone products, conveyances, outdoor gear, logs with bark, and others.  Nursery stock is considered a high-risk pathway from areas of infestation both into Canada and within Canada following pest establishment, especially outdoor production in pots, which are considered a suitable substrate for oviposition.  Efforts to support early detection and response planning will be discussed.

Liam Brennan
Plant Products

Using High-Tech Solutions to Improve Your IPM Outlook

The next evolution in greenhouse production is to collect, manage, interpret, and act on data in order to be successful. As greenhouse farms grow and consolidate, so too does the need for reliable, consistent scouting data. We all know that making good decisions quickly is a cornerstone of any high-end IPM program. Therefore, Plant Products has worked with our partners to develop powerful tools to help modern growers like you use technology to manage your IPM program by generating consistent, reliable, up-to-the-minute data to make IPM decisions as quickly and as accurately as possible. This talk will investigate the opportunities presented by high-tech crop monitoring and the importance of consistent data for making accurate, timely, money-saving IPM decisions.

Medhat Moussa
University of Guelph

Robotics Harvesting in The Greenhouse: Update on Recent Progress

Automation of harvesting operations could have significant savings for greenhouse growers. This talk presents the latest research results in developing the Guelph Intelligent Greenhouse Automation System (GIGAS). The system has three main components: a machine vision system, a grasp planner, and a specially designed gripper. The system has been tested in a commercial greenhouse in Leamington.

Approximately 30-minute presentations


9:30 AM 


This session is sponsored by


Mirza Mohyuddin
Greenhouse Specialist

Effective Communication With Your Plants - Understand Their Language and Make The Right Decisions

Communicating with the plants is an art and science as well. In order to achieve above average yields, one must understand various signals which plants sent and we must be able to read those signals and interpret them and make decisions right decisions. These signals range from nutritional deficiencies and toxicities, response to insect and diseases and vegetative and generative signals. For example what would it mean if a leaf starts coming out of a cucumber fruit or a shoot is emerging from an already set tomato cluster or a pepper flower is not set at the proper angle. Great progress is being made to use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to read and interpret these signals but the growers must have their own capabilities to take actions because there are numerous inputs which can affect such signals. Dr. Mirza will share with you the essence of his 40 years of experience to read and interpret these signals in vegetable crops.

Jason Lanoue
Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada

A Kaleidoscope of Colours: Investigating the Impact of Light on Plant Development

Understanding your light environment is crucial to optimizing plant growth. Supplemental lighting during low light months within a greenhouse or as a sole source in plant factories is essential for year-round plant production. While light is the primary driver of photosynthesis and biomass gain, it also plays a role in a myriad of other physiological, morphological, and biochemical processes. In this presentation, we explore the role of different wavelengths and how they interact with photoreceptors to elicit specific plant responses. An examination of how light spectra can impact nutritional content within leafy greens and fruits will also be discussed. Together, this information will provide key insights on the impact light can have on various crops and how light spectrums can be manipulated to elicit specific plant responses.

Nigel Wallbridge
Vivent SA

More Important Than Light or Water? How Plants Use Information To Grow Best

How we can learn how plants use information to improve farming practices.  Early detection of plant responses can help growers optimize conditions.

Boy de Njis

From Co-Bots to Autonomy: Navigating the Path to Efficient and Sustainable Harvesting with Robotics

In this presentation offers unique insights into the integration of harvesting robotics in commercial greenhouse operations. Ridder, in partnership with MetoMotion, shares first-hand experiences gained from using advanced robotics for harvesting tomatoes-on-the-vine (TOV).

The presentation focuses on the practical implementation of harvest robots as co-bots alongside human harvesting teams, highlighting their roles in enhancing efficiency and productivity. We will discuss the benefits and challenges of utilizing co-bots as well as the potential for transitioning towards a fully autonomous harvesting system. 

Attendees will gain a deeper understanding of the applications and impacts of robotics in greenhouse operations, fostering acceptance of this emerging technology. By exploring real-world case studies and sharing insights, this session aims to provide valuable knowledge on achieving efficient and sustainable harvesting practices through the integration of robotics.

Approximately 30-minute presentations

Thursday Afternoon Concurrent Sessions

2:00 PM - 3:30 PM 


2:00 PM


Rebecca Siemonsma
Express Seed Company

Poinsettia Production 

Gary Vollmer
Ball Horticulture


Propagation to Finish




2:00 PM 

Rebecca Nordin

Saman Soltaninejad
Sollum Technologies

Ries Neuteboom
Philips Horticulture LED Lighting

 Brian Poel

Xiuming Hao
Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada

Panel Discussion: LED Updates & Future



 2:00 PM


This session is sponsored by

Thomas Peters

Insights Into High Tech Hydroponic Production of Strawberries  

This conference presentation highlights the “Higher value” that Grodan solutions and knowledge generation trials can bring to the strawberry industry. The presentation by Thomas Peters aims to address the challenges faced by strawberry growers and propagators, focusing on how the application of Grodan's solutions can transform the market.

The presentation showcases conducted trials, describing the advantages of indoor propagation, and presents an approach for structured irrigation management in high-tech greenhouses. Taking advantage of controlled environments, propagators and growers can enhance productivity throughout the year. The advantages of indoor propagation and cultivation in controlled environment, such as minimizing weather-related risks and diseases, extending the growing season, and enabling efficient cultivation practices are a few of the advantages for the strawberry industry that will be discussed.

Furthermore, the presentation emphasizes the significance of a structured irrigation management to maximise strawberry production. By implementing precise irrigation strategies, growers can achieve efficient resource utilization, and promote healthy plant growth for higher yields and high quality fruits.

Michelle Franklin
Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada

Strawberry Blossom Weevil: A New Berry Pest to North America

Strawberry blossom weevil, Anthonomus rubi was first reported in 2019 in southwestern British Columbia (BC) and subsequently in 2021 in northwestern Washington state. Native to Europe, Asia, and parts of North Africa, this is the first occurrence of this species in North America. This weevil is a pest of plants from the family Rosaceae, including field berry crops such as strawberries and raspberries. Fruit is lost when a weevil lays her egg inside of a closed green bud and clips the stem below. The immature weevil develops inside the flower bud and an adult weevil emerges from the bud. In this talk I will share what we have learned through our research to date on strawberry blossom weevil, including: the basic biology of this insect, its current range in North America, the effectiveness of monitoring tools, and potential options for management of this pest.   

Lukasz Aleksandrowicz
Weston Group

Homegrown Innovation Challenge: Solutions For Extending the Growing Season and Future-proofing Canadian Food Production

In a climate-changing world, Canada’s high dependence on imported fresh fruits and vegetables makes it vulnerable to food systems disruption. In early 2022, the Weston Family Foundation launched the $33-million Homegrown Innovation Challenge, with an aim to bolster Canada’s independence in food production. The Challenge specifically seeks to fund the development of market-ready systems that can reliably, sustainably and competitively produce berries out of season and at scale in Canada.  The Challenge has recently funded 11 teams from across Canada, focusing on a variety of innovations within controlled environmental agriculture, including greenhouse design, vertical farming approaches, renewable energy, robotics, and more. This presentation will provide an overview of the funded teams and the innovative ideas and technologies they are developing.

Erica Pate
Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs

Neopestalotiopsis: An Emerging Strawberry Disease

Strawberry growers should be aware of this new disease caused by the aggressive Neopestalotiopsis species. Neopestalotiopsis symptoms include leaf blight, fruit rot, and crown rot on strawberries, which can be confused with other diseases affecting strawberries. This presentation will cover monitoring for this disease and ongoing research to develop management tools for growers.


2:00 PM 


This session is sponsored by



10-Minute Talks From Research Community

Quade Digweed
Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada

Phase Change Materials & Light Abatement  

Phase change materials can store large amounts of heat by melting and freezing at a temperature close to the greenhouse setpoint. Two mini greenhouses at the Harrow Research and Development Center were outfitted with phase change materials to study their effects on greenhouse energy balance under light abatement conditions.  The phase change material was able to store heat during the day to reduce heating demands at night, and to reduce the overheating effect from greenhouse lights under light abatement curtains.

Daniel Terlizzese

University of Guelph


Shining Light on Eggplant Production

While the use of supplemental lighting has become popular for cucumber and tomato production, lit cultivation of eggplant is uncommon, likely due to the lack of research and knowledge surrounding the crop. It was hypothesized that adding supplemental light to winter-grown eggplant would increase yield, while longer photoperiods would shift energy use to off-peak times, therefore decreasing the cost of electricity. Dynamic (change in light intensity and spectrum) long photoperiod lighting [up to 24h, continuous light (CL)] has proven effective at reducing electrical cost and minimizing injury in other Solanaceae species when monochromatic blue light is provided at night. To test if CL or other longer photoperiods were effective at increasing yield and decreasing electrical costs in eggplant production, we researched the effects of supplemental light photoperiods on eggplant growth and yield.

Telesphore Marie

University of Guelph 


Entraining The Circadian Rhythm With Dynamic LED Recipes to Increase Crop Biomass and Yield

Previous supplemental lighting research has shown electricity cost savings without compromising greenhouse crop yield by using alternating LED spectra under continuous light. The success is hypothesized to be caused by entraining the plants’ circadian rhythm. The experiments presented in this webinar were performed in completely controlled environments (no sunlight), that held other entraining variables constant, to isolate the entraining effects of LEDs. The underlying philosophy is to create a dynamic universal LED recipe that induces rhythms by pulsing different qualities of light at different times of the day. The circadian entraining recipe induced 23.2% higher total plant biomass for tomatoes and increased cucumber yield by 36.6%. Also, young mini-cucumber plants had greener fruit. Our research adds insights to enhance the grower’s toolbox and will be continued in on-site vertical farm and greenhouse experiments.

Yun Kong
University of Guelph

Screening Vegetable Genotypes and Identifying Plant Traits Sensitive to Narrow-waveband LED Light For Controlled Environment Production

To identify traits and plants sensitive to narrow-waveband LED lighting, phenotypic plasticity responses were assessed in 18 vegetable genotypes from seed germination to cotyledon unfolding under a combination of red (85%) and blue (15%) LED lights, compared to darkness. The LED lighting provided a photosynthetic photon flux density of approximately 316 μmol m−2 s−1, with a 17-hour photoperiod. Our findings revealed that shoot color, shoot length, and root branching exhibited greater plasticity indices than other plant traits in response to LED lighting, indicating their higher sensitivity across the tested genotypes. Moreover, small- vs. large-seed species, and red- vs. green-leaf/root cultivars within the same species demonstrated elevated phenotypic plasticity indices in most cases, suggesting their heightened responsiveness to LED lighting. Potentially, the selected genotypes and identified traits will provide useful information for plant breeding and production in a controlled environment using LED lighting as the sole light source.

Rupp Carriveau
University of Windsor

Agri-Grid: Sustainable Greenhouse Energy Resilience

In a changing climate, crop protection and the massive reduction in land use afforded by commercial greenhouses represent an adaptable and secure food production pathway for Canada.  This highlights the importance of greenhouse energy decarbonization.  Economic and operational resilience requires that transitions must balance innovation against unnecessary risk. Agri-Grid builds a modeling environment with data from five different greenhouse operations, two commercial wind farms, grid-connected electrolytic hydrogen production, natural gas blending operations, and a small modular reactor (SMR) to develop business cases for the decarbonization of greenhouse agriculture.  The impacts of blended fuels on cogeneration and CO2 crop provision will also be included.  Agri-Grid will preview the operational characteristics of SMRs and the considerations for their integration into agricultural microgrids. A final focus includes the costs of hydrogen production, transportation, storage, and use; and how these factors impact where hydrogen is produced relative to where it is consumed.

Ashleigh Ahrens
University of Guelph

Extending the Flowering Photoperiod by 1-Hour Boosts the Yield of Indoor-Grown Cannabis By More Than 30%

Indoor-grown cannabis is normally flowered under 12-h photoperiods. We have found that some indoor-grown cannabis cultivars can produce robust flowering responses under photoperiods up to 14-h, with minimal delays in flowering initiation. Since longer photoperiods inherently increase the daily light integral (DLI), higher yields are also possible. We grew two indoor-grown cannabis cultivars (‘Gorilla Glue’ and ‘Incredible Milk’) to commercial maturity under 12-h and 13-h photoperiods, where the 13-h photoperiod represents an 8% increase in DLI. We found there were minimal or no delays in flowering initiation and 35% to 50% higher inflorescence yield under 13-h vs. 12-h photoperiod treatments. This talk will discuss our results and elucidate opportunities for cannabis cultivators to manipulate photoperiod to improve yield and quality within their production systems. 

*Approximately 10-minute presentations


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

2022 Canadian Greenhouse Conference Presentations

2020 Canadian Greenhouse Conference Presentations

2019 Canadian Greenhouse Conference Presentations