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February 24, Tucson

Plant empowerment: A comprehensive approach to optimizing plant growing and crop production

The University of Arizona's Controlled Environment Agriculture Center and the Department of Biosystems Engineering will hold a special joint seminar entitled "The Plant Whisperer: Plant Empowerment-A Comprehensive Approach to Optimizing Plant Growing and Crop Production", featuring Peter van Weel.

Peter van Weel spent most of his career at Wageningen University & Research working on optimizing environmental conditions for plant growth and crop production. He is credited with developing a multitude of innovative systems including ebb & flow irrigation, automatic greenhouse roof cleaning, and aquaponics systems, among others.

Invent is focused on developing integrated low investment and uncomplicated production systems for greenhouse cultivation. More recently, van Weel has focused his attention on an interdisciplinary, comprehensive approach to the integration of sensor-derived data from the growing plants and the greenhouse environment in which they reside to optimize crop production by listening to what the plants are “saying” while focusing on the “language” which the plants are communicating to the grower. So, van Weel claims that “none of the sensors (which monitor plant conditions) has proven to hold the key to the solution of our problem”.

This is so, because “it is just not enough to hear the plant speak, we also need to understand its language.” The key to understanding this “language” lies, according to van Weel, in being able to assess whether the plants are able to keep their balances in equilibrium, and for the grower then to maintain such equilibrium via environmental regulating mechanisms. This approach to plant growth optimization is contained in the principles of “Plant Empowerment” which Peter will discuss in this seminar. So, Come and be ‘empowered’.

Click here for more information and to register.

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