US (AR): State leads fight against pathogens in greenhouses, hydroponics

Even in the most controlled of environments, some things are just going to be out of growers’ control. Researchers at the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station are working to understand those variables, including soilborne pathogens and other disease factors that attack plants, to give farmers, horticulturists, and others the best possible advantage.

Alejandro Rojas, assistant professor of soilborne pathology and ecology for the Experiment Station, the research arm of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, recently presented aspects of the latest research into plant pathogens and disease management within greenhouses and hydroponic systems at the 40th annual Oklahoma & Arkansas Horticulture Industries Show, held in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

“We are trying to understand and develop management recommendations in hydroponics for the production of leafy greens,” Rojas said. “The session was focused on controlled environments, and there are a good number of growers in the region using this system to produce mainly leafy greens, but diseases and their management is one of the concerns that will always exist.”

Rojas said the key to success in these managed systems is “to act preventively instead of reactively, so we try to be ahead of potential disease issues that could affect their production.”

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