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Speaker Program - Wednesday

2019 Highlights

The 2019 Canadian Greenhouse Conference will bring expertise from around the world to Niagara Falls.


 Allan Armitage


Don't miss industry icon, Allan Armitage.  

"Solution Gardening: Varieties that do more than just look good"

Wednesday morning, Ballroom C


 Tom Shay


Tom Shay
Profits Plus Solutions

"Strategies to Win"

Discover what to stop, start and continue as you review your business plan.

Wednesday morning, Ballroom A


Conference Preview in Greenhouse Canada Magazine


Find the speaker biographies in the September issue of Greenhouse Canada.  Click here

 magazine cover Greenhouse Canada


 9:30 AM - 11:00 AM


This session generously sponsored by:  Berger Logo

Brian Jackson
North Carolina State University


 Current & Future Trends in Substrates 

For over half a century the horticultural crop production world in North America has used and relied on peat and perlite as the primary components in soil-less growing mixes (substrates). Recent trends have turned to other materials (for various reasons) which have had significant impacts on some substrate manufacturers, distributors, and growers. This presentation will take an in-depth look at the current and future uses, trends, threats, and potentials in substrates for horticultural production systems.

Anissa Poleatewich
University of New Hampshire

From the Ground Up: How soil-less substrate can affect biocontrol efficacy  

In modern greenhouse production several soil-less substrates are used as a rooting medium for plant growth. Common substrates (peat, coconut-fiber, composted bark mulch, wood fiber, oasis foam and rockwool) differ in their texture, water-holding capacity, organic matter, pH and availability of key nutrients. These chemical and physical properties influence the microbial community structure and function with significant implications for biocontrol. These properties may also affect the efficacy of fungal and bacterial biopesticides differently. This presentation will highlight current and past research on the effect of substrate on biocontrol of soil-borne plant pathogens to help growers consider the biocontrol implications when choosing from the vast array of substrates on the market.

Brian Jackson
North Carolina State University

Water Management in Wood Fiber Substrates 

With the increased use of wood products in horticultural substrates, there has been a shift in cultural practices that many growers have had to adjust to when switching from their “traditional” mixes. Three main areas of crop management are most affected by the use of substrates that contain an appreciable percentage of wood products: 1) Fertility, 2) pH, and 3) Irrigation management. This presentation will focus on the water/irrigation characteristics, behavior, and management when growing crops in mixes containing wood products.

*approximately 30 minute sessions



9:30 AM


This session generously sponsored by:  Farm Credit Canada Logo

Tom Shay
Profits Plus Solutions


Strategies to Win 

It’s challenging but opportunity for success abounds in the horticulture industry.  To maintain control, business owners (growers and retailers) need to review their business plan regularly.  Tom Shay's experiences provide him with the knowledge and background to present ideas to assist owners, managers, and staff with the day-to-day operation of their businesses. He writes and speaks on proven and time-tried ideas on the topics of promoting, customer loyalty, business management design, marketing, business strategy, employee skills development, and financial control.

11:00  AM


Sean Valk
PanAmerican Seed


Mike Murgiano
Syngenta Flowers


Performance Reports: Imara and Beacon

Disease resistant impatiens varieties Beacon and Imara were introduced to gardens across Canada in the summer of ’19.  Learn how these new varieties performed in their seasonal debut.

9:30 AM - 11:00 AM


Karen Koefoed Petersen & Merete Edelenbos
Aarhus University, Denmard

Reducing Waste in Potted Plants in the Supply Chain

Koefoed Petersen and Edelenbos report on research done at Aarhus University Department of Food Science. Preparing potted plants for transport during the final steps of production, buffering supply & demand with cold storage and supply chain issues will be covered.


Michelle Jones
Ohio State University

Using Biostimulants to Improve the Post-Harvest Quality of Potted Plants

Biostimulants are a diverse group of biological products that can increase overall plant health and crop quality by promoting growth and enhancing environmental stress tolerance.  While biostimulants can be used to enhance growth and reduce cropping time during greenhouse production, these products also have a positive impact on the post harvest quality of potted plants.  Discover how biostimulants can be an important tool for growers to improve the post harvest stress tolerance and retail shelf life of their crops. 

Stan Vander Waal
Rainbow Greenhouses
Chilliwack, BC

 Looking Good: Steps to Successful Post-Harvest Results

Should we worry about how our flowers or plants hold up at retail or is it the retailer’s problem? Find out what post-harvest means, lessons learned under Pay for Scan selling and what steps growers can take to ensure successful post-harvest results.

*Approximately 30 minute presentations



9:30 AM  - 11:00 AM


Marshall Dirks
Proven Winners

Jim Kennedy
Ball Seed

Mike Murgiano
Syngenta Flowers

2019  All-Stars - Top Performing Plants in Canadian Gardens

Hear from the top three breeders as to which varieties are proving to be consistent performers in Canadian gardens. 


Allan M. Armitage,
Athens, GA

Solution Gardening: Varieties That Do More Than Just Look Good

People buying plants are not asking about “new”, they are asking about solutions. That is, what problem in the landscape/garden does that plant (new or old) help to solve. Dr. A will talk about new plants, but question why a particular new plant is even needed.



9:30 AM - 11:00 AM*



Xiuming Hao
Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada
Harrow, ON

Latest Developments in Lighting Greenhouse Vegetables

In this presentation, Dr. Xiuming Hao will discuss a newly discovered strategy which allows for injury-free production of greenhouse tomatoes with 24-h (continuous) lighting. Hao will also discuss proper climate control and crop management strategies under various light sources and the development a year-round greenhouse pepper production system that has achieved very high yield.

Jason Lanoue
University of Guelph, ON

Effects of Wavelength Specific Lighting and COConcentration on Primary Gas Exchange and Carbon Export in Tomato

An increase in quality and yield in high value crops (i.e. tomatoes) from the addition of supplemental lighting has forced a re-examination of how light interacts with the plants. The ability to produce wavelength specific LED-luminaries has allowed us to study the effects of spectral quality on photosynthesis, C-partitioning, and export rates of photo-assimilates during production. The implications of these findings for the future design of LEDs for commercial production will be discussed including their potential role in inner canopy lighting in greenhouses.


Andrew Lee
Grodan, UK

Irrigation Strategies in Relation to Light

This presentation outlines current thought processes and practical examples when it comes to structuring your irrigation strategy relative to light and how Grodan is taking the first pragmatic steps towards data driven steering of WC and EC in the root zone with their  “e-Gro” platform.

 *approximately 30 minute presentations



2:00 PM - 3:30 PM


This session generously sponsored by:  Berger logo


Ryan Dickson
University of Arkansas

Keep Calm and Irrigate On!  Managing Water Quality for Greenhouse Crops (Part 1)

This is the first presentation of a two-part series, and will focus on the initial quality of irrigation water before being used with plants. Key aspects of using different sources of irrigation water, considerations for water storage, water quality measurements and interpretation will be covered as well as potential benefits/pros and cons of various water treatment technologies and costs. Participants will learn how to characterize their own water quality in terms of dissolved salts, particulates and debris, and biological load as well as how water quality affects fertilization, irrigation practices, equipment functioning, and plant growth.

Michelle Jones
Ohio State University

Improving Growth & Nutrient Use with Beneficial Microorganisms in Substrate 

The addition of beneficial microorganisms to the growing substrate helps build a healthy microbial community in containerized plants.  This is similar to what probiotics do for the human digestive system.  This strategy of increasing the diversity of beneficial microorganisms improves the growing substrate environment and promotes beneficial plant-microbe interactions that create healthier, more resilient crops.  Data from trials at The Ohio State University will be presented to show the beneficial effects of both commercial products and novel bacterial isolates on growth promotion under low fertility stress.  

Ryan Dickson
University of Arkansas

Keep Calm and Irrigate On!  Managing Water Quality for Greenhouse Crops (Part 2)

This second presentation of a two-part series will focus on managing water quality and nutrients during crop production, particularly in systems where water is captured and recirculated for reuse. Key aspects covered will include maintaining proper root zone pH and nutrient availability, sanitizing the irrigation water, avoiding accumulation of agri-chemicals, considerations for water filtration and treatment technologies, systems designs and water flows. Participants will learn cost-effective strategies to monitor water quality and make decisions regarding water sanitation and treatment during production.



2:00 PM - 3:30 PM*


This session generously sponsored by    lumigrow logo

Chevonne Dayboll
OMAFRA, Vineland

Using Lighting Units to Optimize Production

This talk will focus on explaining different lighting units, and how to convert between them.  It will use data from Ontario floriculture trials to demonstrate how tracking light amounts over time can help with production schedules and cost of production calculations.

Bruce Bugbee
Utah State University


Towards an Optimal Spectral Quality for Plant Growth & Development

Plant growth lighting is associated with more claims and myths than any other component of plant production.  This talk will summarize recent changes in our understanding of the effect of light quality on plant shape and photosynthesis.  The conversion of photons to yield requires optimization of spectral effects on plant morphology, which vary among species. Conversely, photosynthesis is remarkably similar across species, but new studies suggest that the conventional definition of photosynthetic photons (400 to 700 nm) may need to be modified.


Jim Faust
Clemson University, SC

How to use Daily Light Sums

Daily light sum (AKA Daily Light Integral or DLI) is a very useful measurement that will help you to manage light in your greenhouses. Many plant growth, yield and flowering responses are tightly linked with the DLI delivered to the greenhouse crop. Knowing your DLI allows growers to provide supplemental lighting when it will be most effective and not use it when it is less useful (and more costly). Similarly, shading during the summer can be more strategically utilized when the DLI is known. This session will explain the concept of DLI, how to measure it, and how to interpret your measurements in order to adjust your light management strategy to optimize plant growth and productivity.

 *approximately 30 minute presentations

2:00 PM - 3:30 PM


James Sulecki
Meister Media Worldwide, Willoughby, OH

A Brand New Landscape for Innovation

Growers today face many challenges.  We also have a special mission: to serve and the most discriminating consumers in history, with a dwindling labour pool and ever-decreasing margins. How on earth will we do it? With technology.  You will get a read, in under 15 minutes, on the innovation that are most posed to transform your operation.

Stan Vander Waal
Rainbow Greenhouses, Chilliwack, BC

Balancing Act: Prioritizing your automation investments

How do we reinvest our hard-earned dollars in the right way to assure best ROI?  Vander Waal shares lessons learned at Rainbow Greenhouses. 

Ed Treacy
Produce Marketing Association,
Newark, DE

Blockchain: How will it affect the fresh produce industry?

Find out what Blockchain really is and hear about the current Blockchain pilots occurring within our industry. You will also learn about the Trellis Framework which enables the sharing of audit data digitally and hear what the issues that need to be addressed for Blockchain to be effective and sustainable. Finally advice will be shared that all Produce Companies should take action on.


*approximately 30 minute sessions

2:00 PM - 3:30 PM*


This session is generously sponsored by  meteor logo       AMA logo   BVB substrates logo

Eric Boot
BVB Substrates, NL

Fert-Irrigation of Soft-Fruit in Substrate

Growing soft-fruit in substrate instead of traditional soil needs a different approach in irrigation and fertilizing.  Utmost attention must be paid to the circumstances that are created at root level.  Find out the important role played by both irrigation and fertigation to achieve success.

David Gadoury
Cornell University, NY

 Suppression of Diseases & Pests Through Applications of UV Light

Gadoury's research involves using a plant pathogen's evolved defenses against them - circumventing their repair mechanisms and killing the pest without harming the host.  These UV treatments provide suppression of pathogens such as powdery mildew that is superior to that provided by the best available fungicides. 

Marc van Gennip
Genson Quality Plants, NL

European Strawberry Production Systems

Quality systems ensure fresh strawberries year-round.  Van Gennip provides an excellent overview of berry production systems in use in Europe.

 *approximately 30 minute presentations

2:00 PM - 3:30 PM*


 This session generously sponsored by:  OGVG logo

Genevieve Marchand
Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada, Harrow

What’s New in Vegetable Disease Control

Several biopesticides and conventional pesticides are available to Canadian greenhouse growers to manage disease issues in their vegetable crops. Growers need to make a constant effort to stay updated on registrations of new uses of existing products, as well as products newly on the market. It is also crucial to monitor the efficacy of registered pesticides over time, given the potential for resistance to develop in pathogen populations. To raise awareness and bring attention to these issues, results from two recent research projects will be presented. This presentation should provide growers, consultants and extension specialists with relevant information about older and more recent tools to combat diseases caused by pathogens in greenhouse vegetable crops. 

Rose Labbe
Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada, Harrow

Food Supplements to Enhance Biocontrol Agent Activities

Supplemental foods have been recognized for improving biocontrol agent crop performance in greenhouses of Europe for quite some time now. However little is known of the significance of foods such as Ephestia eggs, decapsulated Artemia cysts and Typha pollen for achieving optimal crop establishment of two native North American predators, Orius insidiosus and Dicyphus hesperus. Recent work has shown that these predators have a very different response to each food type.  Labbe will discuss the implications of these findings in relation to the cost of these food sources, guiding how each is best applied onto crops to improve predator establishment and long-term crop protection.

Anissa Poleatewich
University of New Hampshire

 Plant Resilience in the Greenhouse

*approximately 30 minute presentations



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

2019 Canadian Greenhouse Conference Presentations

2018 Canadian Greenhouse Conference Presentations

2017 Canadian Greenhouse Conference Presentations