Tag Archives: greenhouse

First tomato crop at Sterling Suffolk to be planted in December

Sterling Suffolk, the new tomato nursery being built at Great Blakenham in Suffolk, says that it is on track to plant the first crops this winter with a view to harvesting the first on-the-vine tomatoes from mid-February 2019.

The first 5.6 ha phase of what is eventually intended to be an 17 ha site, including glasshouses, packing facilities and offices, is now well under construction and according to the company the 8.3 m tall structure will be ‘the most environmentally efficient glasshouse in the UK.’

Originally the nursery planned to use surplus heat from a new waste disposal incinerator being built nearby, but in March 2016 it said that government changes to the Renewable Heat Incentive meant that this option could not be investigated immediately.

Sterling Suffolk Ltd Director Cliff Matthews told the Ipswich Star: ““This is agriculture on an industrial scale. There is an art and science to growing tomatoes and we have a very good expert involved, Richard Lewis, one of the best in the UK. We aim to produce 50,000 vines per week. It is more about the taste than the quantity. These will be top of the range quality.”

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

The post First tomato crop at Sterling Suffolk to be planted in December appeared first on Hort News on 18 July 2018.

New glasshouse at STC

Stockbridge Technology Centre has added to its research facilities with a new 384 m2 three-zone glasshouse from Bom and Ebtech Glasshouses.

The new building forms part of the CHAP (Centre for Crop Health & Protection) Innovation Centre portfolio, funded by Innovate UK, and will create new facilities for evaluating biopesticides under semi-commercial conditions. It includes a suite of deep-water hydroponic units, allowing customized trials on a range of crops.

The 4 m high glasshouse (at the gutter) consists of three 12.8 m wide zones. The Bom group glasshouse is also fitted with aphid-proof netting on the roof vents, horizontal roof screens and a hot water piped heating system, with a Priva control system. “We can offer large or small scale projects to our clients, offering bespoke projects to the highest of standards required,” commented Ebtech managing director Tony Walker.

Photo Credit: Ebtech

The post New glasshouse at STC appeared first on Hort News on 12 July 2018.

Westland reveals automated lettuce greenhouse

Evesham-based Westland Nurseries, the UK’s largest grower of micro leaves and specialty edibles, has revealed details of its latest 1.4 ha fully automated lettuce greenhouse which has been built by Dutch company Certhon.

In an online video, Peter Taylor, General Manager of Westland Nurseries, explained, “Two years ago we decided to grow into some new markets for us of growing lettuce. The aim of the lettuce that we grow is to sell it into the premium markets. Obviously growing in a hydroponic and controlled environment we are looking for a much cleaner, more controlled, year-round grown lettuce.” He added that the quality of the product is achieved by various details, including, “The multi-gutter system for the lettuce, the glasshouses, and the lighting we use to deliver those products.”

The new greenhouse includes is 1.4 hectares, and includes insulated sandwich panels on the lower levels, with ultra-low iron glass for the roof and sides. It uses a mobile gutter system, together with an energy screen and hybrid SON-T and LED lighting system. It also makes the most of a new CHP system which was installed to feed the entire Westland site.

Photo Credit: YouTube / Certhon

The post Westland reveals automated lettuce greenhouse appeared first on Hort News on 12 July 2018.

Scout robot could revolutionise greenhouse crop protection

A new robot crop scout developed by Metazet has been nominated for a Greentech Concept Award which takes place as part of Greentech 2018 in Amsterdam in June.

According to the manufacturers, the IRIS! scout robot detects diseases, pests, deficiencies and other plant abnormalities at an early stage and also provides accurate fruit count and yield forecasting as well as detailed climate and environmental information. They claim that the system’s artificial intelligence brain and its ability to perform active learning make it unique.

The IRIS! robot can better predict crop stress development and provide unique intelligence that can make crop protection efforts more efficient. It consists of the patented SABER™ sensor mounted on a self-propelled trolley that operates autonomously in greenhouses with a tube-rail system. Collected data is securely stored in the cloud, and the robot brain is said to be protected against hacking due to a novel, patented cloud-based information protection protocol and state of the art security standards.

The Scout robot was jointly developed by Metazet-Formflex, Ecoation and Micothon.

Photo Caption: Established greenhouse technology company Ecoation is one of the companies behind the IRIS! robot

Photo Credit: Ecoation

The post Scout robot could revolutionise greenhouse crop protection appeared first on Hort News on 10 May 2018.

International teams enter autonomous greenhouse challenge

Wageningen University & Research says that fifteen teams have registered to participate in its Autonomous Greenhouses challenge which will take place in the WUR research greenhouses at Bleiswijk. In total, the teams comprise 90 individuals representing 15 nationalities from across the globe.

Teams represent both technology and horticultural companies, such as Microsoft Research, Intel, Tencent, Delphy, Philips Lighting and Syngenta. A number of start-ups are represented and WUR says that the teams also include several plant breeders with lots of practical experience.

The challenge, which is sponsored by Tencent (a leading provider of internet services in China) aims to boost vegetable production using artificial intelligence and autonomous greenhouses to improve vegetable production, and to explore breakthroughs that can help feed more people, deliver greater food security and create more food with fewer resources.

On 31 May and 1 June, the 15 teams will take part in a 24-hour ‘hackathon’ and based on the results, an international jury will then shortlist five teams to go through to the next round. This will involve breeding cucumbers remotely in a dedicated greenhouse section at Bleiswijk using intelligent algorithms, models and sensors, with as little human interference as possible.

The full list of participating teams includes: A Team, AiCU, Huxley, B-Mex, Deep Greens/UNAM, greenHU, iGrow, Modo, SNUPHPF, Sonoma, South China Future AG, The Croperators, The new (cu)cumbers, We Grow and Young Data Driven Growers.

Photo Caption: Companies already working in the greenhouse sector are represented in the entries

Photo Credit: Delphy

The post International teams enter autonomous greenhouse challenge appeared first on Hort News on 10 May 2018.

Philips Lighting issues LED recipe for roses

Philips Lighting has unveiled its new Philips GreenPower LED toplighting with a light spectrum optimized for cut rose cultivation.

The new GreenPower LED toplighting with cut rose spectrum allows growers to increase light levels year-round without increasing heat. During trials by Delphy and Wageningen University, and monitored by experienced rose growers, the new lighting improved the quality of the roses and was 40 per cent more energy efficient compared to high-pressure sodium (HPS) lighting.

“Since we first introduced LED toplighting in 2015, we have been working intensively with a group of about 30 rose growing companies, consultants, universities, research institutes and representatives from the Dutch government, active in developing the rose sector, to further refine our light recipes for rose cultivation,” said Udo van Slooten, Business Leader Horticulture at Philips Lighting. “The feedback from this network helped us improve the quality and quantity of roses grown under LED lighting.”

“The rose branches under the new spectrum are longer, heavier and have bigger buds,” Marc Koene, owner of SK Roses in the Netherlands added.

The new LED rose light recipe is available with the newest generation of Philips GreenPower LED toplighting. In the Philips GreenPower toplighting with rose spectrum, a small amount of white LEDs have been added to assist people working in the greenhouse to perform labour tasks like harvest and scouting.

https://hortnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Philips-Lighting-rose-toplighting-recipe-702×336.jpg

Photo Credit: Philips Lighting

The post Philips Lighting issues LED recipe for roses appeared first on Hort News on 18 April 2018.

Thanet Earth completes sixth greenhouse

Kent-based Thanet Earth has competed construction of the sixth greenhouse on its site near Birchington. The new 7ha of glass means that the company will grow nearly a quarter of all the tomatoes grown in the UK, including its exclusive Piccolo variety.

The new block includes high pressure sodium grow lights and a combined heat and power unit. The company claims that in winter, the total of 31 ha of lit UK tomatoes will represent 75 per cent of UK lit production.

Thanet Earth managing director Des Kingsley said, “There’s an enormous uncertainty around the future for imported trade at the moment, and it’s widely acknowledged that the UK has to improve its self-sufficiency in food production. We’re working as hard as we can to add more top-quality home-grown volumes to the market but there’s still a huge gap between the demand for British tomatoes all year round and the available supply volumes.”

The company has also installed sodium grow lights in greenhouse that it is now switching to cucumber production for next year, saying it will be the UK’s first high-wire, light assisted cucumber crop. Overall Thanet Earth has planning permission to construct up to seven greenhouses as part of an estimated £135 million joint-venture with several partners including specialist growers.

Photo Caption: The new greenhouse features high pressure sodium grow lights.

The post Thanet Earth completes sixth greenhouse appeared first on Hort News.

Are dogs the future of pest detection?

Large Canadian greenhouse grower NatureFresh™ Farms has adopted a novel approach to pest management: using a Belgian Shepherd dog named Chili to identify the first signs of infestation.

The move came following an outbreak of Pepper Weevil (Anthonomus eugenii) in the autumn of 2016. Due to the nature of the pest, it cannot be spotted by humans and, once an outbreak is established, no available biological control methods are capable of controlling the pest.

Cam Lyons, Research and Development and IPM Technician comments, “Dogs are a very intelligent animal. Many worker dogs are trained to recognize and discover scents associated with drugs or bombs, so it seemed possible to train a dog to recognize pepper weevil.”

After research, the company adopted 15-month old Chili who underwent 8 weeks of training before being certified by The American Working Dog Association. This certification allows Chili to work in the farm without any food safety concerns. When Chili detects the scent of Pepper Weevil she will sit and stare at the location of the pest.

Peter Quiring, NatureFresh™ Farms Owner and CEO, added, “In order to continue to grow it is essential to develop new strategies and look beyond conventional methods. We encourage our team to think outside the box and test any ideas they may have; no idea is considered too crazy.”

Photo Caption: Cam Lyons, IPM scout and dog handler Tina Heide, and Chili.

Photo Credit: NatureFresh Farms

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Understanding energy storage for UK growers

As the UK’s electricity grid becomes more complicated, with increased amounts of embedded renewable energy generation, managing it to maintain the balance between electricity supply and demand becomes increasingly complex. In order to do this, new technologies such as battery storage are being developed, but can growers utilise them to save money or generate extra income?

That was one of the main questions posed by a recent GrowSave event held at Kenilworth ahead of the 2017 Tomato Growers Association Conference. Tim Pratt of FEC Energy gave a comprehensive overview of the various mechanisms used to supply and balance the grid, together with the potential incomes and challenges associated with each, while Jon Swain looked at the particular issues associated with battery storage for short-term frequency balancing. For growers with access to a grid connection, hosting one of these facilities may be attractive, but the economics are marginal at best and it is important that any growers considering this look carefully at the costs and contract details.

Oli Coe explained that heat storage is more likely to be of immediate benefit to greenhouse growers. Heat storage systems based around water tanks are frequently included as part of greenhouse heating systems, particularly where biomass boilers or CO2 generation is involved, where they allow optimal boiler efficiency. However, FEC Energy has found that many systems operate below optimum efficiency, and that simple steps can be taken to improve this.

With additional presentations from Priva and Certhon, the GrowSave Energy Storage workshop provided growers with plenty of food for thought, as well as some take-home practical messages to ensure the efficiency of their own heating systems.

Image credit: GrowSave.

Read the original article at GrowSave.

Hydroponic internships available in South Wales

A studentship is available to work with Phytoponics and Aberystwyth University, giving the successful applicant the chance to consider what makes a successful hydroponic crop and how can we improve the agronomy of hydroponics to maximise the yield, efficiency of production and crop quality.

South Wales-based has developed the Hydrosac, a novel device for growing plants hydroponically that expands the range of applications of hydroponics. According to the firm the Hydrosac opens up the opportunity to develop novel agronomy for large scale hydroponics and to develop varieties that are specifically selected for use in hydroponic agriculture.

The project will grow a diverse population from a range of potential salad crops in Hydrosacs, identifying suitable variations to improve plant growth for hydroponic systems and will identify what characteristics are associated with superior performance to establish the characteristics that define a successful hydroponic crop. A major outcome will be to identify the potential impact of new breeding programmes specific for hydroponic agriculture.

Specific aims include identifying crop phenotypes in hydroponic and conventional growing systems, testing how different crops may be optimally linked through hydroponics to maximise the use of nutrient and space, and performing a large scale test of selected crop types to confirm in detail improvements in hydroponics using the Hydrosac for yield and nutrient content.

Photo Credit: Phytoponics

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