West Sussex based Langmead Farms has opened the UK’s first fully automated greenhouse.
The £3 million facility will grow 5 million pots of herbs a year for UK supermarkets and other outlets. It features a unique automatic potting; sowing and growing system that can run 24 hours a day and requires minimum human input. The 1.2-hectare site grows potted basil, parsley, mint, thyme and chives for retailers, as well as an organic range for Abel & Cole.
Featuring biomass heating, UV treated reservoir water irrigation and robotic bench control; Langmeads say the new glasshouse has been designed to be a ‘model of radical thinking and sustainability.’
Ian Summerfield, CEO at Langmeads commented, “This is a very exciting development for us. Our customers are getting five-star reviews for taste and quality from their customers – as can be seen on the Abel & Cole website. We have embraced the innovation, technology and investment required to create cutting-edge environmental and stock management for our customers.”
Langmead Farms are also carrying out market-leading research at the site, with trials of herb varieties and seed crops and a major trial is underway, in conjunction with the University of Nottingham, on lighting technology to provide the conditions for optimal growth and disease prevention.