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Retractable roof helps AU greenhouse function with extremely low energy costs

The LaManna Premier Group's newest farming operation is now in production and some of Australia's finest gourmet tomatoes have been harvested. The greenhouse is Australia's first retractable roof hydroponic gourmet tomato greenhouse and is located at Lancaster in Victoria's Goulburn Valley. Thanks to the Cravo X-Frame structure, protecting the crop from the weather conditions, the greenhouse can function with extremely low energy costs.

Not fighting against, but working with the climatical conditions in Lancaster, Australia. That's what the growers of Lancaster Farm are doing with their recently completed greenhouse (5.3 hectare). Using a hydroponic gutter system, loose gourmet tomatoes are grown in coco peat. 

The farm is currently contributing more than 50 jobs to the region. The complete project includes three stages, covering 25 hectares in total.

Cooling house
The greenhouse is a Cravo X-Frame cooling house with a clear roof and white internal shade/heat retention curtain. "The technology not only minimises water and power usage but increases yields, consistency of supply and produces beautiful quality fresh tomatoes", the growers explain. 

The roof covering is designed to block excessive heat before it enters the greenhouse and this way the retractable roof will help Lancaster Farms' growers not only protect their crops against cool temperature early in season but also, and more importantly, protect the crop through the hot, dry summer. Since the project doesn't need a heating system nor a high pressure fog system, energy costs are extremely low. Thanks to the structure, the normal growing season (January - April/May) is extended to November - July.   

Stages 2 & 3 
Planning work for stages 2 & 3 is well underway which will grow the operation to 25 hectares and will continue to actively support employment in the region. Trials are also underway for the production of other exciting varieties of vegetable and melons to be grown in this technology. 

Lancaster Farm is operated by LaManna Premier Group (LPG), one of Australia’s largest fresh produce supply chain companies. LPG provides both its domestic and overseas customers with a single source of supply across a diverse range of fruit and vegetable categories, including bananas, watermelons and pumpkins as well as over 160 acres field grown tomatoes. 

For more information 
Cravo Equipment Ltd.
T: (1) 519-759-8226
F: (1) 519-752-0082

Publication date: 4/5/2018
Author: Arlette Sijmonsma



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