“Giving growers the tools to manage light quality is one of our specialities,” says Chris Higgins, General Manager of Hort Americas. “For example, we were one of the first suppliers of LED grow lights in the US. At that time, we saw the crop advantages that growers realised when they had the ability to manipulate spectrum along with intensity.”
The company recently started a partnership with Sudlac. Sudlac’s shading products were introduced in the US last year and received much interest from a wide variety of growers. "We're giving North American growers a new tool to manage light."
Hort Americas was founded in 2009 although the team has been actively involved in commercial horticulture for much longer. Strategically positioned in Dallas, it is centrally located to serve its customers in the US, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. It has also partnered with the Dutch supplier Horticoop which provides access to knowledge and products developed by leading European horticulture companies.
The decision to partner with Sudlac was based on the European manufacturer’s proven ideas and concepts to manage light and protect the greenhouse structure, says Chris. “As a company we spend a significant amount of our time managing light in greenhouses and other horticultural production facilities.”
In the past shading products were designed to reduce the amount of light when the sun was at its brightest. “However, when we started talking to Sudlac we weren’t only looking at shading products. Additionally, we were looking at tools that would complement our product range and that would allow growers to manipulate light quality as well as light intensity in the greenhouse. Sudlac’s product portfolio includes such products and as a result has been enjoying growing success in Europe,” says the general manager.
Once Chris and his team had indeed established that Sudlac had the sort of high-quality products they were looking for the decision to form a partnership came down to people. “We also considered competitive products but ultimately it was Sudlac’s team that won us over. They are very open and easy to talk to. They have a simple philosophy, when their business partners do well, they do well. And working together for shared goals is something we always strive for.”
Wide range of climates
The main shading products imported to North America from Europe are Eclipse LD, Optifuse and Transpar. Eclipse LD is a removable shading agent that protects crops against excessive light and heat; Optifuse is a removable diffuse coating; while Transpar is a shading agent that reflects heat radiation.
“Our growers experience a vast variety of climate conditions and grow a wide variety of crops. These products are best suited to cover all possibilities,” says Chris.
The customers also range from very large to small growers with high value crops. “We want all growers to be able to enhance their crops using shading products. Early interest has come from growers with high value crops such as tomatoes, cucumbers, leafy greens and herbs as well as ornamental potted crops. We are also hearing from growers with a wide variety of niche crops that range from general ag research to high end medicinal and biopharmaceutical crops.”
Hort Americas introduced the first products to the North American market in the middle of 2017. “We are still in the process of convincing growers that this technology is going to work, and we have had a huge amount of interest so far. We expect demand to take off when the shading season starts this year!”
For more information:Hort Americas2801 Renee StBedford, Texas 76021469-532-2383hortamericas.com