Home Posts Tagged "climate control"

climate control

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Don’t throw away your old shoes before you get new ones – that’s an adage the Dutch sweet pepper grower Stephan Persoon firmly believes in. Now he and his cultivation manager Roel Klapwijk are putting out feelers in the direction of Next Generation Growing, and instead of replacing the old screen fabric they decided to install a second climate screen under it. It took a while to work out how best to install it.

The first green peppers have been harvested at Personal Vision in Bleiswijk. The new season is just around the corner and changes are in the pipeline in Stephan and Thea Persoon’s 7 hectare nursery with their son Roy having recently joined the team. They grow three main varieties of red peppers and they are also trialling several new varieties from various breeders. This broad palette is a good reflection of how the company works. At Persoon they manage their own sales without the intervention of a growers’ association. Every customer has their own preferences and with several different varieties in house, Persoon can meet all their requirements.

Crop manager Roel Klapwijk has been part of the team for ten years now and specialises in climate control. He attended one of the Next Generation Growing (NGG) courses and came away with several new ideas. Like many sweet pepper growers, Persoon listened to what was being said and let it all sink in for a while. “I built up my whole cultivation strategy around my own experience and intuition. It’s hard to just let that go. I can see that the younger generation doesn’t carry this ‘baggage’ around with them!” he says.

Second screen

Nonetheless, he is open to change and therefore to NGG as well. So last year Klapwijk started to experiment a little with their existing energy screen, above a variety that happily stays generative. He allowed the temperature to rise slightly higher there, except on the hottest nights.

Last winter the time had come to make some changes to the screen system, which plays such an important role in the new cultivation strategy. “We were planning to replace the old fabric”, Persoon explains. “But then we began to question whether that was such a good idea.” In their ten-year-old greenhouse with a six metre post height they have a Luxous 1243 D screen, says Ton Habraken from Svensson. It was actually working well in combination with a fixed AC foil at the start of production. Although it had seen a lot of use, it was not particularly worn and was technically still in a reasonable condition.

After the NGG course, it began to dawn on Klapwijk: why not add a second screen? It didn’t take them long to decide. Persoon: “We took the plunge and decided to leave the old diffuse screen in place and install a second screen, a clear energy Luxous 1347 H2no FR, underneath.”

Halfway up the trellis

That decision was not the end of it, however. The big question was where the second screen would go. The original wire bed is on top of the 12.8 m wide, 58 cm high trellis girder. Placing the second screen at the bottom would leave a gap of exactly the same width as the one above the first screen, allowing plenty of room for air movement.

“With the single screen, AC foil and horizontal fans we already get too many temperature differences. That’s what we want to avoid,” Persoon explains. He was already trialling moving fans around to better control air distribution in the greenhouse. He also fitted 150 sensors to measure the temperature distribution in the greenhouse.

Working with his regular fitters Steetec, he came up with a system in which the second screen would be installed halfway up the trellis, reducing the distance between the two screens to just 25 cm. The screens now close towards each other. Some modifications were needed to the drive shaft, the reverse wheels on the pull wires and the cross braces in the greenhouse. To reduce draughts above the screen, four vertical partitions were fitted along each bay in the 211 metre wide greenhouse. The growers hope that these measures will at the very least make things “calmer”.

Radiation meter

They also installed additional measuring equipment. There are now two sensor units measuring the temperature and RH above the screens. This enables Klapwijk to keep track of exactly what happens when the screens are closed. An RH meter and a radiation meter that records outgoing radiation into the sky were fitted on the weather station.

The screen can be closed on clear nights with high outgoing radiation, although that isn’t always necessary when there is cloud cover. The time of year is irrelevant: “Clear nights in summer sometimes produce more outgoing radiation than in winter,” Habraken explains. “On the other hand, in cloudy conditions there is sometimes very little difference between incoming and outgoing radiation. In that case, it’s often better to keep the screen open.”

Thermal imaging camera

The nursery has been using an infrared plant temperature sensor ever since it started out in 2006. A thermal imaging camera has now been added which measures the vertical temperature distribution in the crop. Klapwijk: “We know there are differences, but now I can really see what’s going on.” He doesn’t yet use the information from the camera to steer the crop because he wants to wait a while to see what happens in the crop first. “I expect to start using this information as a steering tool later in the season.”

Ultimately the cultivation manager will be able to decide what action to take based on measurements taken in the canopy and at the head of the crop. He will also be able to ascertain whether the temperature of the flowers or fruits is dropping below the dew point. The LetsGrow climate monitor tells him what is going on in real-time.

New climate regime

Last year the growers decided to apply a diffuse coating to some of the glass. Klapwijk: “The crop has become slightly more vegetative under the coating.” With this experience in the back of their minds, they will soon be applying a diffuse coating to the whole greenhouse to allow the light to penetrate further into the crop. The next step is to gradually implement a new climate regime. “We are already closing the screen at the end of the day more often, and we are making sure there isn’t too much vegetative growth.”

The question is whether the sweet pepper growers are ready to try growing at a higher temperature, as advocated in NGG. According to Persoon, that decision depends on the plant balance. If the plant load is too high, he doesn’t think they will. Or perhaps the higher temperature might actually help the fruits ripen more quickly. All in all, it looks set to be an interesting pepper season.

Summary

Personal Vision in Bleiswijk in the south of the Netherlands installed a second screen with clear energy fabric in March. The old diffuse fabric in the existing system has not yet been replaced. With this combination, the sweet pepper growers want to gradually apply the principles of Next Generation Growing. By installing the second screen halfway up the trellis girder, they aim to reduce air movement between the screens and ultimately improve the temperature distribution in the greenhouse.

Text and images: Pieternel van Velden.

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The air above an energy screen is much drier than that below it. Currently around 20 companies in The Netherlands are making use of this fact to dehumidify the greenhouse. However, until recently, hardly anyone had tried vertical ventilation in an unlit crop of tomatoes. Tomato grower van den Broek, partly stimulated by German legislation, is a pioneer in this field. The initial experiences are positive.

The horticultural company run by Paul, Marcel and Jolanda van den Broek has very gradually changed from a Dutch one into a German one. It was logical, based on decisions made over the years, that the company, originally from Venlo, should eventually end up in Germany.
“The buyers were always almost all German. From a very early stage we have always wanted to provide exactly what the customer wants. At that time there was always a lot fuss amongst the Venlo growers if they were told at the last minute what sort of packaging to pack the product in; we only saw opportunities. We concentrated on quality instead of volume but it was difficult then at the auction in Venlo to distinguish ourselves from the rest. Therefore it was logical to go directly to an auction in Germany; there, customers do look at the name of the grower. If you do it well you can earn more,” explains father, Marcel van den Broek.

Driven

When producer organisations were formed in the Netherlands the van den Broek family kept their distance. Instead, in 2004 they were able to become a member of Tomatengärtner Rheinland, another new step towards Germany. “The trend ‘local for local’ – the preference for products from your own region – was at that point not very strong. Even so, it made more sense to produce in Germany if you were a member of the Rheinland organisation,” he says. Therefore, in 2007 they bought a building plot in Straelen, sold the company in Venlo and built a 4 ha greenhouse. “Thus we became real German growers and that’s how we feel today too,” he says.

As the crow flies they are just four kilometres from the border but producing in Germany is very different to that in the Netherlands. Firstly, with their four hectares they were for a long time one of the largest horticultural companies in the region. Furthermore, both the energy market in Germany and strict energy legislation are strong determining factors. Indeed these actually drove them towards Next Generation Growing.

Green energy

Last year the greenhouse was expanded to 6.5 ha. The new greenhouse (with polycarbonate walls, low haze roof 26%) was planted at the end of December. They are growing cluster tomatoes (Lyterno) and mini-Roma tomatoes (Strabena). In the early days the older greenhouse was heated using a coal-fired boiler of 3.5 MW. “Natural gas in Germany is twice as expensive as in the Netherlands; then it’s quickly a choice of coal or wood. But we did look into how we could make it more environmentally friendly. Now we hire a co-generator (CHP) of 1.6 MW from Weltec Biopower that is run on biogas. We use the heat and the green energy goes into the grid. We’ve just installed another such CHP and then 90% of the heating will be from biogas. We’ll only burn coal to handle the peaks,” explains his son, Paul.

The decision to lease the CHP was stimulated by the German legislation: “If you install your own CHP you have to pay an energy tax on the electricity that you generate; then it’s not very lucrative,” he says.

Dehumidification

They’ve been applying the principles of Next Generation Growing for some time already: “In the past we used the minimum pipe rail much more,” explains the father. “Now we shade more and accept that sometimes there’s a day when the temperature is somewhat lower.” They now use 31 to 32 m3 gas in the greenhouse that is green for 49.5 weeks per year.

The energy efficiency program in the State of North Rhine-Westphalia has a big influence on the decisions too. “Greenhouse horticulture companies have to achieve energy savings and every measure taken scores a certain number of points: the polycarbonate walls, the energy screen, the climate computer. To achieve the standard we were virtually obliged to install a second screen in the new greenhouse even though we would use it very little. The investment was out of proportion to the number of hours it would be used.”

Because the moisture in the old greenhouse often became too high, they approached Greenco, of Middenmeer and Someren, the Netherlands, about the possibility of using the VentilationJet-system by Hinova. It consists of two fans; an upper fan draws dry air from above the screen to below it. The lower fan mixes the air and spreads it evenly. In this way dehumidification and an homogenous greenhouse climate are achieved together. Furthermore, this system counts towards the necessary energy points.

Vertical fan

“It was difficult to judge if it would work for us because Greenco uses lighting and has a second screen which we don’t have. Nevertheless an extra tool for moisture control seemed attractive. We don’t really like to be a front-runner but because we were the first unlit tomato grower to have such a system we have had to discover everything for ourselves in terms of greenhouse climate. Luckily in the meantime two other members of our growers’ organisation also have such a system,” says Marcel van den Broek.

The new greenhouse now has 52 VentilationJets and 52 separate Hinovators; the latter is a fan that pulls greenhouse air upwards and spreads it like a blanket over the crop ensuring even mixing: the air distribution fan.

Check by eye

They have only been using it for three months but they speak very positively about it. “The temperature distribution in the greenhouse is much better. You see that from the crop. I get goose bumps from such evenly coloured tomatoes,” says Paul van den Broek. “The aim is keep the relative humidity at 87% under the closed screen; that works well. “In the old greenhouse, we need to open the window vents above the closed screen much more often."

In the evening (18.00 - 23.00) everything is switched off. “Then the plant needs to relax and unwind and that’s not possible if the fans stimulate transpiration. After that the system restarts and the computer determines the force and capacity. We check it by eye: the crop needs to have fresh-looking tops. If they start to turn grey we intervene.”

An homogenous climate gives a somewhat higher production; then the gas consumption per kilo of product is lower. “In addition, we can use the screens for slightly longer. Together that could lead to about 10 per cent energy savings per kilo of product," he says.

Summary

Tomato grower Van den Broek has gradually changed from a Dutch into a German company. An interest in Next Generation Growing as well as German energy legislation have driven some noteworthy decisions, such as a leased CHP that runs on biogas and a system with two fans placed under each other. The initial experience with this system is very positive: the climate is more uniform and the crop too.

Text: Tijs Kierkels.   Images: Wilma Slegers.

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Golden Fresh Farms, based in Wapakoneta, Ohio, USA, is a high-tech tomato producer selling to leading grocery retailers in North America. In Greenhouses spoke to Luis Chibante, president and CEO of the company, to learn more about the company’s activities and high-quality, innovative approach.

The history of Golden Fresh Farms, managed by Luis Chibante (president) and Paul Mastronardi (vice president), began around four years ago. It was set up as a sister company of Golden Acre Farms near Kingsville, Ontario, Canada. “When looking to expand our operations,” explains Chibante, “I decided to build a new company here in Wapakoneta, Ohio, for several reasons. Firstly, this location in the Midwest of the USA gives us access to around 200 million people within easy driving distance, which is beneficial in terms of logistics and shelf life. Secondly, the winters are cold here, which we actually like because it helps to keep pests down to a minimum without spraying, and we aim for pesticide-free as much as we can. And thirdly, there is a high energy availability at low cost in Ohio. In fact, we don’t generate our own energy because it makes better financial sense to buy it in than produce it ourselves. That’s a big difference from Canada.”

Locally grown

Sustainability is an important theme for the company, which has a strong focus on quality and freshness. “We strive to grow the best products using sustainable methods. We’re positioned at the higher end of the market, but once our retail customers know that we’re an efficient greenhouse company they’re happy to enter into long-term partnerships with us,” comments Luis.
Nowadays, both retailers and consumers are increasingly realizing that cheaper is not always the best approach. It’s more a matter of how you can improve your product quality, taste, longevity and appearance. That enables you to sell 100% of your product rather than just 80% of your product with the other 20% going to waste, and waste is such a huge issue in retail. “So retailers might have to pay us a bit more, but they’re ultimately profiting a lot more. It took us a little while to create that new mindset among our customers, but they’ve now seen that it achieves real results. And the consumer is actually the winner.”
The company is already selling to most of the big retailers in the USA: Kroger, Meijer, Metro, Sobeys. “In fact, now that we’re a US company a lot of retailers are actually coming to us saying they want to stock our product because it’s locally grown and the sustainability and the product quality are better than they’re used to.”

Tradition of innovation

Now that the first phase of the construction project has been completed, Golden Fresh Farms is a 7 hectare hydroponic greenhouse facility with 75 employees. It has a production capacity of approximately 200,000 tomato plants and an annual yield of 4.5 million kilos of three types of tomatoes: beef, cluster and cocktail. At the end of expansion phases 2 and 3, which will take another 10 to 15 years, the facility will comprise around 32 hectares.
Chibante continues: “To ensure freshness and quality, it’s a very high-tech facility with a fully integrated operation from seeding and harvesting to fully automated packaging and shipping. We’ve definitely benefited from the tradition of innovation at Golden Acre Farms in Canada. That was one of the first greenhouses in North America to work with a trough system. We’re talking 18 years ago.”
In another example, before diffuse glass was invented, Golden Acre Farms was actually one of the first greenhouses in Canada to install two curtain systems, one for energy and one for diffuse light. “So we were doing diffusion before it even became popular. And then five or six years ago, we were one of the first high-tech facilities in North America in terms of lighting and robotised packaging.”

Improving efficiency

The company Thermo Energy Systems has played a key role in those innovative developments, and was instrumental in the design and construction process of the Ohio facility too. “I’ve known Henry Froese, president of the company, for more than 20 years. Even back in those early days we were both very interested in improving efficiency, so we bounced ideas off of one another – him as an engineer and me as a grower – to make his company better and to make my company better, and our partnership has evolved ever since,” recalls Chibante.
“He’s done a lot for us in Canada over the years so it was only logical for us to contact him and his company when we were planning this new facility. In the end, they built the whole greenhouse as their first-ever turnkey project. We architected the facility together – it took around a year and a half to do all the drawings – and then we found the right location. The construction work was completed in just eight months, believe it or not. We’ve been able to use all the technical knowledge gained in Canada when designing our Ohio facility.”

Benefit heat from HPS

So it obviously has diffuse glass, energy curtains and Golden Fresh Farms was set up for semi-cooling if the company decides to grow in summertime in the future. “So basically we have everything we need at our fingertips. We work with HPS lighting rather than LEDs, for two main reasons. Firstly, the energy costs are so low in Ohio that LED cost-savings aren’t a consideration, and secondly the winters here are so cold – with night-time temperatures of down to minus 5°C and daytime temperatures of below zero – that we actually benefit from the heat produced by the HPS lighting.”

Pioneering technology

Another innovative solution that Thermo Energy Systems installed at Golden Fresh Farms is a pioneering fan system by Dutch manufacturer Van der Ende Group. The unique setup of the manufacturer’s Enfan horizontal fans in conjunction with the Verti-Fan vertical fan system combines vertical and horizontal airflows to compensate for any temperature and humidity variations.
This maintains an optimal climate throughout the entire greenhouse, activating crop growth while also helping to save energy. “The horizontal fans are common over here but it’s unique to combine them with the vertical system. Everything works on sensors and is fully computer controlled, there’s no manual intervention. The need for constant air circulation depends on so many factors – the climate and light level outside, whether the curtains are closed, whether the HPS lighting is on – and for each factor the computer knows precisely when to implement the fans. This optimally balances the climate from one end of the greenhouse to the other – which is 430 metres in length and has 49 bays of 8.5 metres each – and there’s a constant air flow without any wind effect.”

Further expansion

The first crops were planted in the Golden Fresh Farms greenhouse in February 2017, so the coming season (September 2017-August 2018) will be the first real test, but Golden Fresh Farms’ president is pleased with the initial results. “The production numbers look really good and we’re already seeing results in the crops in terms of quality. In fact, we like the innovative air circulation system so much that we’re planning to install it in our Canadian facility too in the longer term.”
In the meantime, he has got his work cut out supervising the further expansion of the company in its mission to ensure that its US customers continue to receive the freshest, highest-quality, most environmentally sustainable and locally grown produce throughout the year.

Summary

Golden Fresh Farms, based in Wapakoneta, Ohio, USA, has recently completed phase one of what will become an 32 hectare high-tech greenhouse facility for tomatoes. This innovative hydroponic facility includes a pioneering climate control system combining horizontal and vertical fans to achieve optimal airflow the entire length of the greenhouse.

Text: Lynn Radford. Images: Golden Fresh Farms.

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Assimilation lighting has a big impact on the greenhouse climate and - when the electricity is generated on site - on the efficiency of the energy generator. Optimising the control of the lighting installation leads to a gain in both areas. Two growers and their suppliers explain how they achieved it.

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Spain is – perhaps wrongly – still often seen as a country with middle-tech greenhouse horticulture: that is crops grown in the open ground, only protected by plastic stretched over wooden poles and the sun, however positive, as the most important growth medium. However, that is changing. In southern Spain more and more growers are switching towards professional vegetable cultivation in high-tech greenhouses.

Agrosol Export, of Roquetas de Mar, Almería, is one of those Spanish growers which has invested heavily in climate control, water utilisation and is introducing organic production to ensure year round harvest of quality produce. Founded in 2008, the company is owned by three families and run by eight members of the second generation. Ambitious and knowledgeable in production and marketing, they decided that their future lays in large scale, high tech greenhouses.
“Our fathers were growers and our families have been involved in agriculture in the area since the 1960s. We realized that if we could provide our clients with the same quality all year round we would be more competitive than other local Spanish producers and our traditional competitors in Tunisia and Morocco. We made significant investments in 2008 in high tech greenhouses and then again in 2012 when we installed heating pipes and CO2. At the moment we are very satisfied although we do have plans to expand further,” says José Ángel Amat, one of the directors.

Change the assortment

They have 105 hectares, including 32 hectares of state-of-the-art greenhouses, equipped with double layered plastic between which air is blown, to give a very good thermal insulation.
Initially they grew cherry, beef and snack tomatoes but one of their advantages, says Amat, is that they can change the assortment to respond to the market and client demand. “For the first four to five years 60% of our production was cherry tomatoes but over the last two years that has decreased as many other growers now grow cherry tomatoes. That changed the market. We want to be as profitable as possible per square metre so we switched over to mostly sweet peppers and cucumbers.” At the moment 50% of the greenhouses produce bell peppers, 45% long cucumbers and only 5% (8 hectares) is tomatoes.

Year-round consistency

Another change was the installation of pipe rail heating on 15 hectares in 2012. Various types of heaters warm the air in a further ten hectares. You’d think that heating pipes would be superfluous in southern Spain but after a visit to Mexico Amat says he realised their potential. “You can’t imagine the level of high technology they have there. They have pipe rail heating and I was very impressed with the quality of the fruits they were able to produce. Here the minimum temperature in winter can be 6-7ºC and at that temperature the yield of bell peppers and cucumbers decreases. And we have high humidity in the morning which has a big impact on quality.”
Therefore, in 2012 Agrosol Export commissioned the Bom Group to install a methane-fired 12 MW boiler, a heat storage tank of 3,000 m3, pipe rail heating on 15 hectares and a CO2 system in the greenhouses and at a cost of 2.5 million euro.

Further expansion

“We run the boiler, which also provides CO2, from the end of October until the spring. This year that was until the beginning of May. This has enabled us to achieve consistently high yield of very high quality. We will harvest until the beginning of August and we expect to reach a yield of 20 kg peppers/m2; 70% red and 30 % green," says Amat. The cost price is around 0.80 to 0.90 euros per kilo, compared with 0.50 euros in the hot air heated greenhouses where the yield is somewhat lower at 7-8 kg/m2.
The benefit gained from the pipe rail heating means they are gradually installing more in the current greenhouses and next summer they plan to build a new 10 hectares high tech greenhouse. “If that goes well then in about three years we may build again,” adds Amat. “We believe that investing in technology is the only way to be better than our competitors.” The new house will also have a double plastic covering but they will aim to allow in more light and it will be higher, at 7 metres, to improve air circulation.

Direct marketing

Their success can also be attributed to their marketing and relationships with their clients. Most growers in the area sell through a cooperative whereas Agrosol knows its clients directly. Its main customers are UK retailers, although it does sell snack cherry tomatoes under the brand ‘Cherrytos and co' aimed at children. These are mainly sold through Faborit, a trendy outlet in Madrid, or via e-commerce. “We want to invest a little more in the snack tomato business because we think this is a good way to gain more profit,” says Amat.
Of course they have to fulfil individual audits for their clients such as Nurture for Tesco, and comply with codes of conducts such as GlobalGap and Leaf Marque but that is part of the commitment required for these partnerships.

Trend to organic

They are also increasing the volume of organic production. “Nearly 10% of crops are organic and we are planning to increase this in future to meet the growing trend.”
In the remaining houses they use an IPM program and biological pest control suggested by their supplier Koppert Biological Systems. They have been implementing this since they started Agrosol Export and their father’s used it before that.
This allows them to minimise most of the common diseases and keep well below the mandatory maximum residue levels. “We have a highly developed pest control system which allows us to avoid a lot of diseases,” says Amat. They currently include a range of natural predators including Amblyseius swirski, macrolophus, orius and Amblyseius californicus. “We do a control at the propagator and we make continual checks at all stages of the crop to check for disease and to ensure the natural predators are well established.”

Cocopeat substrate

Over the last few years they have been gradually switching to a cocopeat substrate. Now the majority of crops are grown in this, just some in rockwool. “We separate the cocopeat from the plastic bag and recycle them both: the cocopeat is composted and we are building a plant to convert the plastic bags into biodiesel for our own use.” It should be completed within six months.
“Our strategy now is to progressively convert all our greenhouses to high-tech, in a sustainable way. This is the only way to produce high quality fruits year round and be profitable per square metre,” the grower concludes. “It is a major investment but the results are good. Our clients are very happy with our service and our ability to offer quality products during the difficult winter times.”

Summary

Significant investment in high tech greenhouses, including pipe rail heating, by large Spanish grower, Agrosol Export, is allowing it to produce consistently high quality peppers and cucumbers year round. The majority are sold to UK retailers. It has the flexibility to switch crops to market demand and is gradually cultivating more and more organic produce.

Text: Helen Armstrong. Images: Agrosol Export

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IT company SERCOM from Lisse automated the first companies using multi-layer cultivation five years ago, well before the term Vertical Farming became a hype. At the GreenTech trade fair in Amsterdam, SERCOM will be displaying the latest process control - hardware and software - in this field.

Vertical Farming is the theme of the upcoming GreenTech trade fair in RAI Amsterdam. Vertical Farming is a global trend, and generally leafy vegetables and herbs are cultivated in closed spaces on several layers under LED-lighting. In Japan and America, Vertical Farming is on the rise, and primarily young entrepreneurs are attracted to it.

In America one Vertical Farming company after another is being set up, always in close proximity to large cities. The Association for Vertical Farming (AVF) expects that there will be a Vertical Farm next to every major urban area within 10 years. It is not surprising that multinationals like Philips, Metro, Osram, Toshiba, Microsoft, Panasonic, Fujitsu and GE are interested in it. It is not particularly popular with Dutch growers yet. But multi-layer cultivation is on the rise, especially with young plants (vegetables, potted plants) and tulip farms.

Forced tulips

SERCOM has developed climate systems for several farms in the Netherlands involved in forcing tulips with multi-layer cultivation. One of them is Karel Bolbloemen BV in Bovenkarspel. Since 2011 they have been farming vertically. That makes Karel one of the first tulip companies that started large-scale 'internal expansion' with multi-layer layers in containers with an ebb & flow system. The tulips remain in the dark for the first few days, then fluorescent light is added. SERCOM developed the system for climate control, including the cooling of the climate chambers, the lighting for the multi-layer cultivation and the irrigation of the greenhouse.

In due course, the fluorescent lighting will be replaced by LEDs. Director-owner Bert Karel thinks this will use less energy and allow better control of the plants. Research conducted by Wageningen UR in 2011 revealed that tulips respond differently to different LED-colours. There will also be a new system, in which LED-lighting will be used to improve the quality of the tulips even more and match the production better to peaks in demand. Karel Bolbloemen BV supplies tulips upon demand to supermarkets throughout Europe.

Visit SERCOM at the GreenTech at SERCOM Plaza, hall 11, stand 321.

Photo: KG Systems/Karel Bolbloemen BV.

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The Next Grower is a new online tool developed by Hoogendoorn. This tool enables growers to configure and visualise the greenhouse irrigation, climate and energy controls they want, and have these assessed by an expert.

After entering information such as the greenhouse type, crop, substrate, surface area and location into the system, the grower will be asked how he would like the greenhouse’s climate, irrigation and energy demands to be controlled. Users of this user-friendly tool will then immediately receive an e-mail from Hoogendoorn with a visualization of the configuration, some useful pointers and (if desired) personal advice from a Hoogendoorn expert. The tool can be obtained free of charge.

Watch the video for an in-depth explanation or go directly to www.thenextgrower.com

Source/photo: Hoogendoorn Growth Management.