Updated software for greenhouses: Virtual Grower 3.0 is now available

Virtual Grower 3.0 is a great tool for greenhouse operations that are planning on expanding or making structural changes, or even determining energy consumption based on scheduling of your crop.

Virtual Grower 3.0 is a decision-support tool for greenhouse growers. Users can build a greenhouse with a variety of materials for roofs and sidewalls, design the greenhouse style, schedule temperature set points throughout the year, and predict heating costs for over 500 sites (over 250 new sites for the new version) within the United States. Different heating and scheduling scenarios can be predicted with few inputs.

This computer software was developed by Jonathan Frantz and colleagues at the USDA Agricultural Research Service, with help from the American Association of University Professors’ research-based information. MSU Department of Horticulture’s Erik Runkle has contributed data that associates with crop timing, temperature, lighting and energy consumption based on heating regimes.

This software is designed for individuals that are new to greenhouse production and seasoned operations. The components focus on scheduling, assessing baseline and savings opportunities, grant opportunities, and evaluating the environmental footprint of the operation.  Virtual growers can also test your intuition on decisions you have made.

Virtual Grower 3.0 is available as a download free of charge onto your PC or Mac computer.

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