Citrific Nursery president Mathew Konrad recently gave a citrus nursery tour to show a culture process and automated nursery system that could be beneficial to the citrus industry.
“I got into this industry because I felt like the industry was lacking a lot of common technologies and more sophisticated nursery operations,” said Konrad. He explained that he wanted to make the citrus nursery business more efficient, which led to the creation of his company, Citrific Nursery in Lake Wales, Florida. “I wanted to create a business where we felt like we created our own path and weren’t reliant on outside forces like current available seed or current available scion material,” said Konrad. So the first thing he did to achieve his goal was build a tissue culture lab.Tissue culturing is incredibly labor intensive, so Citrific uses technology to minimize the labor that is needed to perform the functions. Konrad explained how his company uses robotics to streamline the tissue culture process. This has created an improved method for tissue culturing citrus because the plants are not disturbed at every step of the process. “The plant actually lives in its own little container home, and the container home moves with the plant through its different life cycles, all the way to the greenhouse,” explained Konrad.
“In our greenhouse, we implemented as many automation processes as we could, to decrease our labor and make things more consistent,” said Konrad. “By using automation, we tried to create a climate for the greenhouse that was much more consistent and not as reliant on humans.” According to Konrad, this way of doing things greatly decreases the margin or human error.
Konrad gave a tour of the automated fertigation system used at Citrific Nursery. Fertigation is the injection of fertilizers, soil amendments and other water-soluble products into an irrigation system.
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