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Sweet pepper growing systems: Traditional and V systems compared

There is a choice for pepper growers between a traditional system and the V system. What are the advantages and disadvantages of these systems and why do growers opt for one or the other? Two growers talk about their own thoughts and experiences.

Ben Kleijweg from Bleiswijk is a pepper grower who has many years’ experience with the traditional system. He has used the traditional system ever since he moved into hydroponics in 1986. In the traditional system there are two rows of slabs side by side with 4 crop support wires above for training the stems. “The stems are further apart which is an advantage over the V system” Kleijweg says “Because of this the leaves get more light which gives better setting. That was the main reason for me to choose the traditional system even when I built new glasshouses in 2006. January and February have very poor light and it is important to catch as much of it as possible. In a traditional system there is more substrate volume which makes the crop more controllable.”  

Good feeling
Kleijweg who uses Exact Air slabs in his system thinks that the advantages of the traditional system over the V system are less these days. “More and more fast growing varieties are now available which make the choice of system less important. If I had to choose again now I would at least seriously consider changing to a V system. Harvesting is easier and in the traditional system there is always more variation between the stems which can make the trimming more difficult especially with new employees. Overall both systems work well so it is down to what you are comfortable with.”

Vegetative growth
Roel Klapwijk the production manager at pepper growers Personal Vision in Bleiswijk agrees with this and that both systems have their advantages and disadvantages. “When I came to work here in 2006 the decision had already been made to use the V system. Here there is just a single row of slabs with two wires above for the stems.”

Klapwijk also sees some disadvantages especially during the first few months of the crop “Because the plants are closer together than in a traditional system it is more difficult to make the crop generative. There is more competition between plants causing some to stretch more as they are shaded. This can give a more uneven vegetative crop and later fruit set.”

To have better control over this imbalance Personal Vision changed a few years ago from a V system with two heads per plant to a V system with 3 heads per plant. “We would like to go to 4 heads per plant on a V system but it will depend on the varieties we have in the future. With the right vigorous variety this could be an option.”

Labour advantage
On the other hand Klapwijk says that there are some advantages from April onwards, when light distribution to the leaves is significantly better. “There is more space between the rows than with the traditional system. Because of this there is more growth during the spring and summer, a significant advantage.”

With more space in a single row of slabs makes accessing the crop easier and work can be done faster and more efficiently. “Spraying is two rows at one time and biological control agent distribution is improved over the traditional system saving labour. You also need less substrate volume/m2 in a V system which helps with costs.”

Overall Klapwijk says that it is difficult to say which system is best “Both the traditional and V system have their advantages and disadvantages. In my view the choice of variety of pepper is much more important than the cropping system.”

For more information:
Saint-Gobain Cultilene
Zeusstraat 2
5048 CA Tilburg
t + 31 (0)13 578 00 57
info@cultilene.nl
www.cultilene.com

Publication date: 5/5/2017

 


 

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