by Jayde Reilly, Marketing & Anthony Roth, Greenhouse Manager
The QLF Agronomy Research Center (ARC) is located in Dodgeville, WI. QLF is dedicated to research and development of their agriculture products and has invested in an in-house lab for testing and evaluating products, conference room for meetings and seminars, growth chamber to test seed safety and germination, and also added a 42 by 60 greenhouse to test products and formulas on wide array of plant species, application methods, rates, and timing. Below is an interview with our greenhouse manager, Anthony Roth, for an inside look at what we do at QLF Agronomy:
Question: How does the growth chamber work? What does it do?
In short, it allows us to test and build the best products to feed plants and biology. The Conviron growth chamber is able to accommodate 288 plants in 3 inch by 3 inch square inserts. The growth chamber controller allows us to control the light intensity, time, temperature, and humidity. Not only can we control those factors I can program a schedule that turns the lights on and off and increase and decrease the temperature emulating outside conditions. This allows us to create ideal conditions growing for the seedlings as well as adverse growing conditions for various crops. Having these growth chamber capabilities allows us to evaluate seed safety, seed germination, seed emergence, product rates, product efficacy, and thousands of different combinations.
Question: What crops do you study and what have you studied in the past?
Some of the plants that we have tested include corn, soybeans, cotton, edible beans, tomatoes, peppers, onions, flowers, and sugarcane.
Question: What have you learned from your position in the greenhouse?
I have learned more about biology in the soil and in the plant as well as how it affects plant health and growth. I have also learned how to work with biology and how we can be more effective with our nutrient inputs like nitrogen. The more we understand how systems like the nutrient and carbon cycles work and how we interact with them, the more it will help to make our customers prosperous and stewards of the land. In addition, I have learned that fertilizer placement and amounts are crucial to seedling success. I have observed greater seed safety with our products compared to conventional fertilizer products. There is no one thing that guarantees success but a string of choices and actions assembled together to provide the greatest chance of success.