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Micro Paradox Acquires Greenhouse System Designed and Installed by ATI

Randhawa Ventures getting started

Always on the cutting-edge of the commercial greenhouse industry, Agra Tech of Pittsburg, CA and Micro Paradox of Pleasant Grove, CA worked in close conjunction to create a commercial greenhouse system that is unique and unprecedented.

Micro Paradox provides high-quality clonal rootstock to orchard owners and nursery growers, consisting of clonal rootstocks for walnuts, cherries, pistachios and almonds. In addition to providing rootstock, the company can also do custom projects by providing customers with specific types of clonal rootstalks.

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Dr. Parm Randhawa

With over 20 years of experience in the seed health industry through CSP Labs, Micro Paradox was founded by Dr. Parm Randhawa in 2010 to provide high superior rootstock to growers worldwide. In addition, he is also the founder and owner of California Seed and Plant Lab, Inc. (CSP Labs), a company that performs seed health testing for the vegetable seed industry. The company was incorporated in 1998 and expanded its services to include seed germination, seed purity, disease diagnosis, resistance screening, hybrid purity, variety fingerprinting and Non-GMO testing.

CSP Labs is located on-site in a separate facility from Micro Paradox but located on the same property. “This close proximity enables us to conduct high quality testing of our products,” Randhawa said. “It’s convenient and useful, because it saves us time and allows us to work without interruption.”

A clonal rootstock is a vegetatively propagated (cloned) rootstock. Rather than using germinated seedling rootstock, nursery owners and growers can carefully select a clonal rootstock of their choice. This clonal rootstock, in turn, can be “budded” to a variety of the grower’s choice, according to www.microparadox.com.

Clonal rootstocks from Micro Paradox are superior over seedling rootstocks, because the latter suffer from genetic variability in that one seedling is different from the other seedling and their perforwalnutProductmance is unreliable. An orchard produced from seedlings may not be productive as some seedlings may lead to inferior trees, Randhawa explained.

“Clonal plants from high-quality trees are genetically alike and therefore perform similar to such characters as vigor, uniformity, budding compatibility, disease resistance and yield,” rootstockPicRandhawa said. “Clones are generally well studied and their characteristics documented by multi-year research before their release to the growers. For example, our walnut clone VX 211 is resistant to nematodes and this resistance lasts for the life time of the tree planted in soils containing nematodes.”

Micro Paradox is well-known for producing some of the best clonal rootstocks in the world. “Several companies can clone walnuts but a very few are good at it,” Parm said. “We are good at it and our reputation lies in “trees with good roots”. Our trees have roots that are at 45 degree from stem, multiple and air pruned to provide an edge when planted in a nursery row or in the orchard.”

“Our process is simple to produce high quality trees,” Randhawa said. “By establishing a contamination-free clone in tissue culture in the lab and increasing cloning in the lab to generate large number of very healthy cuttings, we then root them in the laboratory to a well-rooted plug. Once we’ve established the plug to a well-rooted plant in the greenhouse, we let it grow to a specific size. Then, it’s ready for sale.”

Randhawa was already familiar with Agra Tech, because they had acquired several commercial greenhouses from the company for CSP Labs, but this project for Micro Paradox was a completely different project with different specs and a lot of design required. “This was a truly groundbreaking project and we knew that a lot of the work would have to be custom,” Randhawa said. “By working closely with all of the people at Agra Tech, including John Pound, Ray Pound and Anita Pound and our sales rep, Jim Bergantz, we were able to get this greenhouse and all of its systems up and running by February of this year.”

2015-08 Randhawa 21By designing and building an Agra Tech  Sawtooth framework greenhouse featuring seven separate rooms for different stages of growing, it includes 7 energy curtain systems; connecting doors to each chamber; heating and cooling systems. It also includes a mobile tray system with six transfer carts and a complete railing system to move the trays throughout the entire greenhouse; a Biotherm under bench heating system: a True Leaf Fog system in each of the seven rooms and seven separate center water drip water brooms. It’s a huge project, but after it was completely designed, it took less than six months to make it 100% operable.

Everyone at Micro Paradox is thrilled by the results of their new system and relieved that it went so well. “The customer service provided by Agra Tech has always been exceptional and on this project they really did a spectacular job,” Parm said. “They did their research and came up with solutions that were designed specifically for us. We asked them a ton of questions and they answered all of them promptly and accurately.

“The greenhouse was built by Ag-Con and Ray Pound made it a seamless process, he said. “Every time we needed something–they were right there. It took about six months to get everything up-and-running and today we’re happy to say that our greenhouse is half full already. When we reach our goals, it will be more like three quarters full, which will be full capacity, because, of course, we will always have root stalks being shipped out to our customers.”

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Ag-con Construction

Ed

by Ed Attanasio

 

 

Hayes Wholesale Nurseries in New Zealand Uses Agra Tech’s Agra Benches

bench 003With customers worldwide, Agra Tech in Pittsburg, CA has greenhouses and ancillary products in countries all over the world and in this case, New Zealand is the setting for this story. Hayes Wholesale Nurseries is the New Zealand’s largest wholesale growers and suppliers of Pac geraniums, fuchsias and Pac Pelargoniums and sells to local garden centers as well as national chains throughout the country.

Based in Makarewa, a small community north of Invercargill (the southernmost city in the South Island of New Zealand), Hayes Wholesale Nurseries is owned and operated by Barry Hayes. He has the industry in his blood, because he learned how to be a nurseryman first hand in his parents’ garden center starting as a teenager back in the 1980s. He is now a veteran of the greenhouse growing industry with 30 years under his belt, and he wouldn’t change the life for anything else, he explained.

“Helping things to grow and creating a quality product is satisfying,” Hayes said. “We are specialist producers and the biggest growers of geraniums and fuchsias in New Zealand. All of the flowers we produce here are the best in New Zealand and people know that, so they look for our products in their garden centers and retail locations.”

Growing 300,000 flowers annually is a huge operation and that’s why Hayes needs three 1,000 square meter greenhouses (although they do call them “glasshouses” in New Zealand) and three separate propagating houses. The nursery grows flowers year round, but 80% of them are sold during their peak season, which runs from August through January, Hayes explained, with the busiest months being August and September.

The nursery employs five full-time people and comes with a complete menagerie of animals as well. “We have two exotic cats here, my Bichon-Maltese-cross dog, Poodles, and right now I am also taking care of a friend’s English bulldog. They’re our very own visitor welcoming committee.”

All of the plants grown at Hayes Wholesale Nursery are produced from cuttings. To meet the demand, they import cuttings from Germany every year. Once they arrive, the imported cuttings are kept in the nursery’s quarantine facility for three to four months until Ministry of Primary Industries’ inspectors give them the thumbs up. At that point, the cuttings are re-potted until they become well-established and then they’re shipped out to customers.

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Agra Tech Ebb and FLow Bench

Back in 2007, Hayes started purchasing rolling benches from Agra Tech, as part of their Agra Bench line of Mobil Trays, Rolling Benches, Stationary Benches, Ebb & Flow Benches, Caster Benches and T-Rail Benches. The nursery was interested in Agra Tech’s benches for their convenience and saw instantly that they could help their production.

“We use their Rolling Benches, because they make our lives here so much easier,” Hayes said. “By using these benches, we can grow more plants per square meter. Also, these types of plants require ongoing maintenance, which means we need a way to easily access each plant on a regular basis. The Rolling Benches enable our workers to do their jobs without spending a lot of time moving plants around.”

Hayes also uses Agra Tech’s Ebb & Flow Benches for several reasons. “We flood the trays with water and fertilizer and that way we’re able to reclaim all of it,” he said. “It cuts down on the cost of water and fertilizer, because the excess drains off and we re-use them. So, by using these benches, we’re able to be a greener operation while saving a substantial amount of time, water and money.”

Over the years of working with Agra Tech, Hayes has developed a solid relationship with the company. “Eloise and John Pound, the owners of Agra Tech have been here at least two times, looking at our operation and helping us to find good solutions. The Pound family has a ton of experience in this industry and their knowledge is invaluable to anyone growing crops in a glasshouse. We’ve received three large shipments of Agra Tech’s Benches and as we continue to grow, I am sure we will likely need more.”

Written by Ed Attanasio

Visit with Hayes Ebb & Flow bench

John Pound Visits Hayes Wholesale Nursery in New Zealand

Agra Tech and Ridder/HortiMaX North America Nurture Growing Relationship

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By aligning itself with top companies worldwide, Agra Tech, Inc. is able to be on the cutting edge of every aspect of the commercial greenhouse farming industry and offering its customers world-class solutions. One of these beneficial relationships is with Ridder/HortiMaX North America, a global company with local offices in Ontario, California, Wisconsin and North Carolina. By incorporating products and systems manufactured by Ridder/HortiMaX North America into greenhouses made by Agra Tech in Pittsburg, CA, it is an alliance that benefits both parties, as well as greenhouse growers and ultimately consumers.

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Ron Daemen is the President of Ridder/HortiMaX North America and pleased to be working with Agra Tech. By strategically looking at new products and systems and other ancillary products all the time, this international company with offices in seven countries, has already become a major player in the United States.

Ridder/HortiMax North America is always looking to support greenhouse growers worldwide to achieve better results through best fit growing technology together with their partners in the industry, including Agra Tech.

Daemen explained the business relationship his company has with Agra Tech, Inc., one of the world’s largest manufacturers of commercial greenhouses. “Agra Tech is a reseller of our products and systems and for that reason they know us very well. With their knowledge and experience and our wide range of solutions for their customers all over the country, we work well together.”

The products and solutions that Ridder/HortiMax North America offers fit into three categories: Climate & Energy, Water & Nutrition and Labor & Productivity. By utilizing a strategic combination of these, the company can devise a solution for any greenhouse grower. Recently, Ridder/HortiMax North America also jumped into the climate screens industry, to add yet another product to its impressive lineup.

Ridder/HortiMax North America has been involved in several major greenhouse projects in the U.S., including Gotham Greens, a company that designs, builds and operates commercial scale greenhouse facilities in urban areas for fresh vegetable production. Since commencing production in early 2011, Gotham Greens has quickly become a worldwide pioneer in the field of urban agriculture and one of New York State’s leading producers of premium-quality, greenhouse-grown vegetables and herbs.

Ridder/HortiMaX North America is currently focusing on several U.S. greenhouse growing categories, Daemen explained. “Right now our customers are growing vegetables and marijuana in states where it’s legal and once more and more states legalize the recreational use of marijuana that market will grow. We also want to get more ornamental flower growers as customers, because we see significant future growth in that area. Whenever we decide to go after a certain market, we first have to determine its size and how our products can best serve it.”

Agra Tech and Ridder/HortiMax North America forged an alliance officially four years ago. “We started working with John Pound and his team at Agra Tech back in 2011,” Daemen said. “But they actually began purchasing Ridder products back in the 1990s. I expect our relationship with Agra Tech will continue to flourish, because they are a strong company with an impressive track record. We both value customer service and that is important to any business relationship, because in the end we want to serve our customers and the industry. Here at Ridder/HortiMax, we believe in treating the customer how we would want to be treated, and I know that the Pound family does too.”

It’s a two-fold mutually beneficial alliance, because Agra Tech brings valuable leads to Ridder/HortiMax North America and vice versa, according to Daemen. “With our products and systems and Agra Tech’s knowledge and skills, we can provide a great combination of viable solutions for any greenhouse operation—large or small and regardless of what they’re growing.”

What does Daemen think about the future of commercial greenhouse growing in North America and worldwide? “It looks exceedingly positive. Consumers are demanding better quality and healthier food. Today’s greenhouse technology will help growers to deliver on these demands. At Ridder-HortiMaX, we’re always doing research and development to come up with better products and solutions, so that we can best serve our partners and customers all over the planet.”