Fertilizing with pollen, water sanitation innovations, and honey bee numbers

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A sustainable e-newsletter from GrowerTalks and Green Profit GrowerTalks MagazineGreen Profit Magazine

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Jennifer Duffield White Subscribe

MPS Introduces Tracking
The Soil APP
Water Sanitation Innovations
Fertilize with Pollen?
Honey Bees - Good News and Bad

MPS Launches FollowYourFlowerOrPlant.com

MPS, a sustainability certification used by more than 3,000 growers around the world, is bringing consumers into the loop with a new website that helps them find the grower of their plant.

MPS announced they were launching a uniform MPS logo for certified products—and each certification seal may now contain a tracking number that corresponds to the plant’s grower. Consumers are encouraged to go to www.followyourflowerorplant.com, enter the number, trace it back to the grower and find out how sustainably the product was produced.

Starting August 23, 2017, all MPS-ABC, MPS-GAP, MPS-SQ and MPS-Q(ualitree)-certified growers and growers who meet the requirements for MPS-ProductProof can use the uniform MPS logo with their unique MPS-number.

It’s an interesting way to tell your story and provide transparency about your production methods. We’ll have to wait and see if the tracking system makes consumers feel better about a product—and how often they actually use the website.

The Soil App, for Kids

Once again, technology steps in to help get kids “back to the earth”—or we should say, back to the soil. The Center for Ecoliteracy and the Whole Kids Foundation has released a free tablet app called Starting with Soil.

How does it work? Through an interactive app, it teaches kids about soil and the basics of gardening, along with how animals and humans impact the soil. Users can “plant” a seed with the app and virtually examine the soil with a microscope.

Let’s hope that it also encourages them to physically get their hands in the soil. To that tune, the creators teamed up with Annie’s Foods to create a downloadable booklet, “Creating Gardens of Goodness,” to get people started on their own gardens. They also have “Getting Started: A Guide for Creating School Gardens as Outdoor Classrooms.”

These are all good tools to suggest to parents and teachers.  

How Dutch Growers Clean Up Their Water

Dutch growers are facing new regulations beginning next year that require them to clean up their waste water and remove plant protection products from their discharge. That means everyone is scrambling to find a solution. Some will be relying on in-house units; others on mobile water purification trucks. But one new collaborative project shows that using powdered activated carbon may be another solution. In the lab, the technology showed promise for purifying water, and they’re now piloting a project in order to get the technology approved for use in greenhouses.

How does it work? You add the powdered activated carbon to wastewater, wait, then filter the carbon from the water. They say it would be a good solution for those growers who only discharge small amounts of water.

Learn more HERE

Pollen: The Fertilizer of the Future?

It works in a lab setting, but will it become the fertilizer of the future? Researchers created what they call a biocompatible fertilizer, which uses carbon dots from rapeseed pollen. When they applied it to hydroponic lettuce, they ended up with a 50% increase in biomass.

The other advantage? It could be a low-cost solution.

Read more from the American Chemical Society HERE 

Honey Bee Colonies Numbers

The USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service recently released their most recent numbers on commercial honey bee colonies. The numbers refer to the 2016 year and the first part of 2017. It’s a mixed picture, so let's take a closer look.

Number of colonies: When looking at bee colonies for operations with five or more colonies: numbers were slightly down on January 1, 2017, and slightly up on April 1, 2017, when compared to the previous year. For those with less than five colonies, numbers were down 20% in 2016.

Colonies lost: 14% of colonies were lost from January to March of 2017. Colony losses from October to December 2016 were 17%. (Those were numbers from operators with five or more colonies.)

Colony collapse: The good news is that colony loss due to colony collapse disorder has decreased across the board.  Among bigger operations, colony loss due to the disorder was down 27% during the period from January to March 2017, compared to that period for the previous year. In 2016, colony collapse was down 40% among operations with less then five colonies, when compared to 2015.

Varroa mites: were the thing that stressed out colonies the most during all of 2016, among all producers. That trend seems to be carrying into 2017. Those with less than five colonies reported 17.6% of colonies were affected by the mites during 2016. Large operations report that 42% of colonies were affected in the first part of 2017.  

Until next time,

Jennifer Duffield White

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