Saturday, 19 August 2017

Nova Scotia's first commercial aquaponics farm coming in February

Nova Scotia’s first commercial aquaponics farm is poised to start production by next February at the former Newport Station elementary school building in West Hants. Before proceeding, the property needs to be rezoned, which should be concluded by mid-November. As the business is developed, the plan is to construct other buildings on the site, and predict an investment of about $3 million over five years.

In addition to the commercial aquaponics operation, the company also plans to start an aquaponics educational class next year which the public will be invited to attend to familiarize themselves with aquaponics.

Original Source

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

New Tax Rules in Canada Impact Farmers

The National Post reports that the federal government's proposed tax reforms could affect Canadian farmers that are family farm corporations (shares are held by family members). The legislation is meant to remove the benefits of income splitting to lower the effective tax rate.

Read more here ...

Proposed new tax rules — such as disqualifying capital gains earned by minors and restricting the use of family trusts for the exemption — could mean farmers take a big hit on their retirement plans.

Monday, 31 July 2017

U of Arizona Lectures: Plant Physiology and Controlled Environment growing

University of Arizona Controlled Environment Agriculture Center (CEAC) Lectures
on Plant Physiology and Controlled Environment Technology

Video Playlist:

  • Introduction
  • Light Intensity and Quality (part 1 and 2)
  • Photoperiod
  • CO2
  • Wind
  • Temperature
  • Humidity
  • Energy Balance 1
  • Canopy Environment 1
  • Energy Balance 2
  • Canopy Environment 2
  • Plant Nutrition
  • Substrate
  • Water Relation
  • Sink Source 1 and 2 (the playlist has these in the wrong order)
  • GH Environment 1 and 2

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Taking Decoupled Aquaponics to the next Level (EU Presentation)

The four loop design allows for optimal nutrient levels in the plant loop, while maintaining low Nitrate levels in the fish loop with very little water loss. A desalination system allows desalinated water to flow from the hydroponic loop back to the fish loop.

A presentation by Simon Goddek (Wageningen University, NL) given during the EU Aquaponics Hub training school on 'Modelling nutrients, energy and growth in aquaponic systems' at University College Cork, Ireland, in April 2017. Filmed and produced by Em Cooke.

Friday, 30 June 2017

Bright Future for Aquaponics and Vertical Farming

A recent report by Market Research Future forecasts stable growth for the aquaponics market at the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.5% through 2022. Another report forecasts the vertical farming market will reach $6 billion by 2022, growing at a whopping CAGR of 26%.

The market growth will be driven by increasing demand for healthy, pesticide free food, and rising urban populations. A rising awareness of the healthy benefits of fish, and the increasing use of aquaponics for research purposes will also undergird the market going forward.

The Global Vertical Farming Market is expected to reach approximately USD 6 billion by 2022

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Montreal's Zero Waste Urban Rooftop Greenhouses

These rooftop greenhouses harness the lost heat the tops of the buildings resulting in energy usage that is half of a traditional greenhouse.

Monday, 5 June 2017

Urban Organics Mammoth 87,000 sq ft Indoor Aquaponics Farm

Urban Organics just opened a new 87,000-square-foot indoor aquaponics farm in St. Paul, Minn. As one of the largest commercial aquaponics facilities in the world, the urban farm has the capacity to grow 275,000 pounds of fish and 475,000 pounds of organic produce annually. This is 50 times larger than the pilot plant at Hamm's Brewery built in 2014. A virtual tour of the pilot facility is shown below.

Currently, the farm is at 30 percent capacity for produce, and they project being at full capacity by fall. The pilot plant raises striped bass and tilapia and grows basil, kale, watercress and Swiss chard. The new facility will raise 275,00 pounds of Atlantic salmon and arctic char fish each year and about 475,000 pounds of organic greens including kale, bok choy and arugula once they hit full stride.

Read more here and here.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

The Filtration System at Ouroboros Farms

Thanks to Potent Ponics for this interview with Ken Armstrong explaining their filtration system.

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Commercial Rooftop Farming in Montreal

Mohamed Hage and Lauren Rathmell are a new species of farmer. They've created a model of food delivery to address the challenges of our world's fresh food systems by building 31,000 square feet of 21st century farmland… on the roof of an old Montreal warehouse.

Original Source

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Aquaponics Explored on PBS

In this episode from 2015, Chris Hartleb, Professor, Department of Biology, UW-Stevens Point, discusses Aquaponics as a sustainable food source for the future.

Friday, 31 March 2017

UV Sterilization in Aquaponics

Aquaponics has beneficial bacteria that allow it to outperform sterile systems. Because of this, UV sterilizers are not generally used. Other negative side effects of UV sterilization include the reduction of micronutrients especially iron, boron and manganese.

"One side effect of the use of UV sterilizers is their effect on a few of the micronutrients.
Mohyuddin (1985) found that the boron and manganese contents in a nutrient solution were
reduced by more than 20% over a period of 24 h of sterilization. The most significant effect
was on iron, which was precipitated as hydrous ferric oxide. Nearly 100% of the iron was
affected." p. 100 - Hydroponic Food Production

Typical UV Disinfection System used in Aquaculture
Here is a collection of studies on the subject:

The effects of nutrient solution sterilization on the growth and yield of hydroponically grown lettuce.
Abstract: Two methods of removing bacteria from hydroponic nutrient solution [ultraviolet (UV) radiation and submicronic filter] were evaluated for efficiency and for their effects on lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) production. Both methods were effective in removing bacteria; but, at high intensity, the ultraviolet sterilizer significantly inhibited the production of plants grown in the treated solution. Bacterial removal by lower intensity UV or a submicronic filter seemed to promote plant growth slightly, but showed no consistent, statistically significant effect.

Integrated Multi-Trophic Recirculating Aquaculture System for Nile Tilapia (Oreochlomis niloticus)
Abstract: Three densities of the sex-reversed male Nile tilapia, Oreochromis niloticus (20, 25, 50 fish/m3) were cultivated in an integrated multi-trophic recirculating aquaculture system (IMRAS) that involves the ecological relationship between several living organisms, i.e., phytoplankton, zooplankton, and aquatic plants. The results indicated that, by providing proper interdependency between various species of living organisms, the concentrations of ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and phosphate in the system were maintained below dangerous levels for Nile tilapia throughout the cultivation period. The highest wet weight productivity of Nile tilapia of 11 ± 1 kg was achieved at a fish density of 50 fish/m3. The aquatic plants in the treatment tank could effectively uptake the unwanted nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) compounds with the highest removal efficiencies of 9.52% and 11.4%, respectively. The uptake rates of nitrogen and phosphorus by aquatic plants could be ranked from high to low as: Egeria densa > Ceratophyllum demersum > Vallisneria spiralis and Vallisneria americana > Hygrophila difformis. The remaining N was further degraded through nitrification process, whereas the remaining P could well precipitate in the soil sediment in the treatment tank.

Influence of UV Treatment on the Food Safety Status of a Model Aquaponic System
Abstract: Few microbial studies in aquaponics, a growing trend in food production, have been conducted to determine food safety status. The aim of this study was to determine the food safety status and the effectiveness of ultraviolet treatment (15 W, luminous flux of 900 lm) as a food safety intervention in reducing the microbial loads of the water system in a model aquaponic unit growing lettuce, basil, and barramundi (Australian Sea Bass). Sweet basil, bibb lettuce, water samples, and fish swabs were collected throughout the 118-day production period, and microbial analysis was conducted in triplicate for the presence of E. coli O157:H7, Salmonella spp., and the prevalence of aerobic plate counts (APC), coliforms, and fecal coliforms in these systems. Absence of foodborne pathogens was confirmed using ELISA technology and enumeration through petrifilms (coliform/E. coli). A significant increase was observed in aerobic plate counts over the trial period (1 to 3 log10 CFU·mL−1) in the presence and absence of UV (p > 0.05). Ultraviolet treatment did not significantly reduce the APC or coliform counts when compared to the control system samples. Future work should focus on improving the unit design, the evaluation of bio-solid filtration, and other food safety interventions.

Abstract: Aquaponics is an integrated production system where plants grow in a soil-less medium of aquaculture waste. This kind of production is seen as favourable nowadays since waste utilization could increase farm productivity and reduce environmental impacts. This research compared the microbiological quality of aquaponic water under ultraviolet (UV) sterilization and its compliance to international directives on irrigation water uses. An assessment of crop productivity was also carried out to outline differences in productive traits of lettuce (Lactuca sativa L. ‘Verde degli Ortolani’) grown in sterilized and non-sterilized aquaponic systems against a hydroponics floating system supplied with a nutrient solution of 1.6 dS cm-1. Total coliforms under UV disinfection showed counts well below 1 CFU ml-1 and a reduction in microbial loads higher than 99%. Furthermore no Escherichia coli were found in both sterilized and non-sterilized aquaponic systems. No significant differences were recorded for productive traits of lettuce (yield, mean shoot weight, shoot and root dry biomass, leaf area, specific leaf dry weight), suggesting that aquaponics is a valid method to produce vegetables with high hygienic standards.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Beneficial Microbes in Aquaponics

Edit: This article was edited to remove the inaccurate representation of hydroponics as 'sterile'

Even though hydroponic systems use scientifically optimized man-made nutrient solutions, Nick Savidov makes the claim that aquaponic plants are healthier, and more nutrient rich than those from hydroponic production. He says this is possibly because of the complex microbial communities present in aquaponics stimulate root growth and nutrient uptake in ways we still do not fully understand.

A new paper published by the Aquaponics Association delves a bit deeper into this subject. These microorganisms are responsible for nutrient-delivery, disease-suppression, and environmental regulation. The positive results include healthier roots, less spoilage, and more nutritious produce.

Root mass comparison (Nick Savidov 2004)

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Plant Nutrition Videos

Colorado State University
This lecture is a good overview of the macro and micro nutrients plants need and their specific functions.

Melbourne Polytechnic
This lecture includes identification of nutrient deficiencies.

For an overview of managing plant nutrition in Aquaponics, click here ...

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Recirculating Aquaculture is the solution to hunger and climate change

Imagine a world where polluting, resource-intensive cow, pig, and chicken farms are replaced with giant tanks of fast-growing salmon. It might be a strange view of agriculture, but a potential huge shift in how we feed the planet. Read more ...

Growing fish is much more efficient than growing cows, pigs, or chickens.