Tuesday, 6 February 2018

New Commercial Aquaponics Book by Dr. Wilson Lennard Now Available

Wilson Lennard is an Australian scientist with a PhD in Applied Biology. His thesis topic focused on the optimisation of commercial aquaponics systems. Dr. Lennard also has over 16 years of experience in the aquaponics industry. Here is a section from his preface that describes the purpose and focus of the book.

The purpose of this book therefore, is to not repeat the knowledge that is already available for standard, tank-based fish production (RAS) or standard hydroponic plant culture in detail, but to rather concentrate on the requirements of the integration process so as to produce the most efficient and optimised aquaponics designs and management methods available. This book wont therefore, go into upper level design and engineering aspects of the fish or plant culturing components of the aquaponic system design process. More detailed information may be found in other, excellent references and resources related to stand-alone RAS fish culture and stand-alone hydroponic plant culture. This book will concentrate on the application of science and engineering principals to the integration of these two existing technologies in a number of ways that meet the ultimate aquaponic outcome; the efficient and optimized use of the nutrient resources (i.e. fish feed) added to the system.

This book will also consider many of the satellite technologies associated with aquaponics, such as greenhouses, lighting, etc. However, and again, there are many excellent resources already available for these requirements, all of which go into far more exacting and complex detail than this book could attempt to do. Therefore, while these other technologies will be considered, it is more the purpose of this book to concentrate on the integration principles associated with fish and plant culture and so these other technologies are better served by trying to provide a list of appropriate external resources.

We hope to provide more details after we get our copy. You can purchase the book here.

Friday, 2 February 2018

Aquaponic Nutrients and the impact on Plant Production

Boris Delaide (University of Liège, BE) gave a presentation of his recent study of nutrients in aquaponics and their impact on lettuce production. Here are some key takeaways.

Aquaponics has a much lower level of nutrients than a typical hydroponic system, yet produces the same amount of lettuce

Most of the nutrient was lost due to the water changes and the sludge removal (solid fish waste removed from the system). Aquaponic systems need to take advantage of the nutrients locked in the sludge. Adding a digester to mineralize the solids is a good place to start.
Despite all of this, Aquaponics is as productive as an optimized hydroponic system with a much higher concentration of nutrients. This echoes the findings of others such as Nick Savidov.

His hypothesis is that aquaponics performs as well as hydroponics despite having less nutrients because of the microflora in the rhizosphere which help the roots in absorbing nutrients more efficiently. The second reason may be the dissolved organic matter may be feeding the plants directly or promoting the uptake of nutrients.
He also found that if the nutrients in the aquaponic system were supplemented so that they were equivalent to the hydroponic system, the plants would grow at a much faster rate than the hydroponic system.

Aquaponic solution supplemented with nutrients equalling what would be found in a typical hydroponic system, produced 39% more plant mass than the hydroponic system. This is due to the more efficient uptake of nutrients in the aquaponic solution.
Finally, he looked at different methods of digesting the sludge to release the nutrients that were locked in the solids. More work needs to be done in this area, but it is promising.

Here is the full presentation:

Download the study here

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Aquaponics used to grow marijuana in former pulp mill in Nova Scotia

A Nova Scotia company will soon begin growing cannabis in a former pulp and paper mill in Queens County, and hopes the buy-local ethos extends to marijuana.

Health Canada granted Aqualitas Inc.'s cultivation licence Jan. 19, making it the third Nova Scotia company to get the approval — joining Breathing Green Solutions Inc., which has a production facility in the Wentworth Valley, and THC Dispensaries Inc. of Antigonish.

Myrna Gillis, co-founder and CEO, said Aqualitas plans to start growing its first crop in February and then it will test it and apply for a sales licence, with the hope of selling cannabis this summer. So far, none of the three Nova Scotia companies are licensed to sell.

As an early player in one of the largest per capita cannabis markets in Canada, Aqualitas aims to have all-natural, aquaponically-grown cannabis ready for market by this summer. The facility’s annual growth at capacity is projected at 9,000 kg and expansion into a further 20 acres beginning this June will move it towards its goal of becoming the largest licensed producer of all-natural cannabis in Canada.

Aqualitas has renovated a former Bowater warehouse in Liverpool, N.S., and has turned it into a 70,000-square-foot production facility. (Emma Smith/CBC)
Investors have also placed tremendous confidence in the company’s technological innovations, environmental values and most importantly, its team. Aqualitas recently closed an over-subscribed offering of common shares for total gross proceeds in excess of $8.8 million CAD.

Monday, 22 January 2018

UVI Aquaponics System Overview

This video put together by Jason Danaher and the Southern Regional Aquaculture Center (SRAC) the aquaponics system that served as the model for most of today's aquaponic systems.

Thursday, 4 January 2018

The State Of Indoor Farming

The Agrilyst report looks at emerging trends, challenges and benefits of farming indoors. This year's report shows some interesting trends.

There is a growing number of indoor vertical farms since 2012.

Leafy greens remain the most popular crop.

Greenhouses have higher yields per area and are more profitable than vertical or container farms.

Aquaponics is the most profitable indoor growing technique among those surveyed!

The most significant operating cost in Aquaponics remains labour.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Aquaponic Cannabis Production in Puslinch Ontario

Here is an update on an Aquaponics Canabis producer we have written about in the past.

PUSLINCH, ON, Nov. 27, 2017 /CNW/ - Green Relief, a licensed producer under Health Canada's Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR), has officially unveiled their company-wide rebrand, which also includes social media platforms as well as their website.

Green Relief was founded in 2013 by Warren Bravo, Lyn Bravo, and Steve LeBlanc on the principles of sustainability, social responsibility, and research, something that is reflected heavily in Green Relief's new brand image.

"Rebranding our company was a very personal decision," said Green Relief CEO Warren Bravo. "With legalization looming, it was imperative that our image better reflected our unwavering commitment to cannabis as medicine while simultaneously highlighting our passion for sustainability."

Green Relief wants to ensure that people are not only aware of the quality, consistency and safety of their medical cannabis but also the importance of giving back to the community and taking care of our planet.

The new concept visually combines the seven veins of the cannabis leaf, enclosed in a geometric interpretation of a water drop. The bright green is an ode to growth, vibrancy and health, while the darker blue-green grounds the identity system and is symbolic of the relationship between water and plant growth. The stylized water drop to represent Green Relief's unique aquaponic growing method. The fusion of the two visual symbols pays homage to Green Relief as the only grower of its kind.

Green Relief is the only medical cannabis provider in the world that's producing by way of aquaponics, where fish and plants grow in a natural ecosystem environment that uses 90% less water than conventional agriculture. It is considered to be the most innovative and sustainable form of agriculture. Green Relief raises tilapia in their aquaponics system and they are fed organic high quality feed resulting in an excellent source of lean, healthy animal protein for consumption. Under their current setup, Green Relief donates anywhere from 300-340 fish every four weeks to local shelters, once the fish reach market weight.

Green Relief works tirelessly to carry out one important mission: helping their patients improve their quality of life. They are also striving to further the science of medical cannabis through research and using cannabis to advance sustainable agriculture around the world.

To check out Green Relief's brand new website, visit www.greenrelief.ca. You can also visit them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @GreenReliefLP.

Original Source

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Full Spectrum LED Plant Lights

Purple LED Lights

Full Spectrum LED Lights
Plant lighting technology continues to advance at a rapid pace. High Intensity Discharge (HID) lamps are still the most commonly used light in commercial growing operations because they are tried and true. But HID lights generate a lot of heat and are not the most energy efficient.

Light-emitting diodes (LED) are attractive because they do not require ballasts and they do not emit as much heat so can be placed close to crop surfaces. They can also be placed in an array, and the hue can be controlled by varying the intensity of individual colours of LEDs. Initially, manufactures targeted the red and blue spectrums of light because it was thought to be more efficient to put the energy into the wavelengths that are absorbed the most.
Red and Blue light are absorbed the most by Chlorophyll
But plants benefit from the full photosynthetic spectrum (400-700 nm). Green light for example, once thought not necessary for plants, penetrates through thick top canopies to support the leaves in the lower canopy (leaves are green because they reflect and transmit green light). The more natural full spectrum also encourages photorespiration, causing plants to consume more nutrients.

Full spectrum LED lights are now available at very reasonable prices making them the go to choice for many growers. NASA for example determined that LED lights are the best single source of light for growing plants.

Other Common Plant Lights
HID - Pros: high penetration, full spectrum (HPS and MH); Cons: high heat and energy use, requires ballast
Florescent - Pros: low initial cost, low energy use, low heat; Cons: performance decay over time, low penetration, requires ballast
Induction or Plamsa - Pros: long life, no performance decay, lower heat; Cons: expensive, requires ballast

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

A Win for Aquaponics Organic Certification (but not for Aeroponics)

A group of proposals aimed at banning soilless production (including Aquaponics) from being eligible for organic certification by the USDA was recently voted down by the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB).  The decision came after several groups in the organic community participated in significant lobbying efforts urging the NOSB to reject organic certification for soilless production systems.

Through a series of votes, the 15-person Board decided to allow most of the soilless production methods to remain part of the National Organic Program.  The decision established a new set of standards for organic, soilless farming.  The issue of soilless production has been a source of conflict within the organic industry for years.

Groups who are opposed to continuing to certify hydroponic and aquaponic production as organic, claim that the methods used are contrary to the core principals of organic production, which center around soil health.  However, soilless producers argue their methods are as equally sustainable and energy efficient as traditional organic growing techniques.

The NOSB, an advisory committee to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, issued a four-part recommendation.  Hydroponic production that uses water-based nutrients to grow plants, along with aquaponics, which uses hydroponic techniques combined with fish farms, will both continue to be recognized under organic certification.  There are roughly 100 hydroponic operations certified as organic in the United States.

There were also no further restrictions placed on container growing, which is another method of hydroponic production that uses a solution of water, nutrients and organic matter to grow crops.  The container growing method is used by several large organic berry growers.

Aeroponic farming methods that grow plants that are suspended in the air with exposed roots, will no longer be considered organic.  While there are no organic aeroponic farming operations in the U.S., several companies were considering the necessary equipment to pursue certification before the vote.

Source ... (AgNet)

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Aquaponics in Hamilton Ontario

Sarah Pardy, left, and Melissa Houghton of Lumago - Barry Gary, The Hamilton Spectator
Melissa Houghton is the CEO and founder of Lumago, an aquaponics company in Hamilton. Lumago's focus is providing custom solutions for local farmers and to spread the word about sustainable farming. They have developed a small educational aquaponics system that is portable and designed to boost experiential learning and raise food literacy.

Read more at the Hamilton Spectator ...

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Decoupled Aquaponics for Nambia

Developonics Video shows decoupled system with anaerobic digestion (mineralizing solids) and distillation (increased nutrient concentration). (To turn on sound when playing video click the speaker icon on the bottom right of the video)

Monday, 16 October 2017

The water under Colorado’s Eastern Plains is running dry as farmers keep irrigating “great American desert”

WRAY — Colorado farmers who defied nature’s limits and nourished a pastoral paradise by irrigating drought-prone prairie are pushing ahead in the face of worsening environmental fallout: Overpumping of groundwater has drained the High Plains Aquifer to the point that streams are drying up at the rate of 6 miles a year.

The drawdown has become so severe that highly resilient fish are disappearing, evidence of ecological collapse. A Denver Post analysis of federal data shows the aquifer shrank twice as fast over the past six years compared with the previous 60.

Aquaponics uses less than 10% of the water used in traditional agriculture.

Read more (original source Denver Post)

Friday, 6 October 2017

University of British Columbia - Aquaponic Workshop Oct 12

UBC Centre for Sustainable Food systems is putting on an aquaponics workshop on Oct 12 from 6 pm - 7:30 pm. Register here

The Centre for Sustainable Food Systems (CSFS), located at the UBC Farm, is a unique research centre that aims to understand and fundamentally transform local and global food systems towards a more sustainable, food secure future. The CSFS is a living laboratory, committed to finding solutions to both the local and global challenges facing food systems sustainability and translating solutions to improve personal, community, and environmental health. Through our Vision, Mission, and Guiding Principles, the CSFS models new paradigms for sustainable communities.

The UBC Farm is a 24-ha teaching and learning space, and integrated production farm located on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the Musqueam people. Situated within a 90-year-old coastal hemlock forest, the UBC Farm comprises a mosaic of cultivated annual crop fields, perennial hedgerows and orchards, pasture, teaching gardens, and forest stands. The UBC Farm is certified organic through NOOA, and grows over 200 varieties of fruits, vegetables, and herbs, and lso features honey beehives and egg-laying, open-pasture hens.

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Aquaponics in Aldersyde Alberta

Calgary-based Argo Resilience Kit Ltd. (ARK) and High River’s Alberta Tilapia Aquaponics are using Sprung Instant Structure’s newly developed tension fabric greenhouse, located at its Aldersyde facility, to develop a complete aquaponics facility that can be placed anywhere in the world. The aquaponics system is packaged with the specialized greenhouse that uses a highly specialized Japanese membrane with 64 percent transmission and high diffusion of light. The complete package is expected to cost between $300,000 and $400,000.

Original Source

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Montrealers Aquaponic Solution to Food Insecurity

Two young Montrealers hope to help change the harsh reality that fresh food is scarce or unaffordable for many people in places like Nunavik, the northern third of Quebec.

Original Source