Tag Archives: glasshouse crops

Shortage of CO2 for Dutch greenhouses

Long term efforts to reduce the carbon footprint of Dutch horticulture, together with the recent global shortage of industrial carbon dioxide have created an unexpected problem for Dutch greenhouse growers: a shortage of CO2 for atmosphere enrichment.

In fact, the situation has got so severe that tomato supplier Prominent has written an open letter to the Dutch Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality Carola Schouten. Jacco Besuijen, Prominent’s energy manager cited a recent report suggesting that The Netherlands hopes to save 2.2 million tonnes of greenhouse gas by 2030 and be climate neutral by 2040.

‘Prominent growers are sounding the alarm because they had to contend with major shortages of external CO2 in the past year,” said Besuijen in the letter. ‘For example, our Prominent growers, with a total of 418ha of tomatoes under glass, have been able to apply 5,016 tonnes less of external CO2 in the past six months due to shortages.’

One solution is for the industry to take more waste CO2 from industry. In fact a new pipeline to take CO2 from companies such as Shell Pernis to local greenhouses is currently under construction by OCAP in the PrimA4a development region.

Photo Caption: Tomato supplier Prominent is warning its growers are short of CO2.

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UK grower breeds world’s hottest chilli

A grower from Newark has unveiled what has been dubbed, ‘the world’s hottest chilli’ at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. The variety called the Dragon’s Breath chilli measures 2.4 million Scovilles (SCU) on the Scoville heat scale, some 200,000 SCU hotter than the current record holder.

The Dragon’s Breath is the culmination of a joint project between Tom Smith Plants, NPK Technology and Newark-based chilli grower, ChilliBobs. The Dragon’s Breath was revealed to the world on the Tom Smith Plants stand at the Chelsea Flower Show and Guinness World Records have already been approached to officially verify it as the world’s hottest chilli.

As the creator, owner and commercial grower of the Dragon’s Breath chilli, father and son Bob and Neal Price, have grown and harvested it from seed. Bob said, “We make it a rule to taste every new type of chilli that we grow. As soon as we tried Dragon’s Breath we knew it was hot!”

At 2.4m Scovilles, the chilli is over 500 times hotter than Tabasco sauce. The Scoville scale, which is used to measure the spicy heat of chillies, was developed in 1912 by an American pharmacist Wilbur Scoville.

An edible version of the new chilli will be available to buy from ChilliBobs, and chilli fans will be able to taste it at the ChilliBobs East Midlands’ Chilli Festival, in July at the ChilliBobs farm in Rolleston, near Newark.

Photo Caption: Dragon’s Breath summer chilli pods.

Photo Credit: ChilliBobs Ltd

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Cucumber growers struggling

Reports that the UK cucumber sector is at the ‘brink of extinction’ may be melodramatic, but industry representatives agree that further contraction will be seen if the market does not pick up.

Cucumbers were one crop highlighted as being particularly at threat in the NFU’s recent Catalyst Revisited report after UK production fell below 100 ha for the first time. The average retail price of cucumbers has, like other produce, fallen by around 50% over recent months.

In turn this has devalued the crop. “Every other supermarket jumped on the bandwagon and 50p now is the most you can get,” Derek Hargreaves, technical officer at the Cucumber Growers Association (CGA) told one website. “Go back a few years and cucumbers cost anywhere between 80p to £1.20. If they were worth 80p four years ago, by rights, it should be 85p now.”

With few commercial cucumber growers left around the Humber, the Lea Valley now produces 75% of the crop. While there are signs of investment in new glass, none of it so far is earmarked for cucumber production.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia Commons

The post Cucumber growers struggling appeared first on Hort News on 27 November 2015.