Village Farms' Paul Selina to adress climate control in semi closed greenhouse during Greentech

The last few years more and more semi-closed greenhouses are being built. These greenhouses give growers more and better tools to control the inside climate and growing conditions. At the same time, this also provides new challenges for growers on how to use all these tools. During the Greentech in Amsterdam, Paul Selina and a HortiMaX specialist Joost Veenman will share their experience on how to improve the climate control with new tools of the semi-closed greenhouse

One of those tools that are practically indispensable in a semi-closed greenhouse is ProDrain. This is used for a very precise irrigation based on the plant’s needs. In addition, ProDrain gives the grower precise insight in the actual crop transpiration and crop growth.

Such measurements were maybe 'Nice to Have' in the past, now they are ‘a Must have’ in semi-closed or high tech greenhouses. During the inspiring session at the GreenTech Paul Selina of Village Farms shares his knowledge on optimizing climate.

Paul Selina: We’ve been using ProDrain since 2007. First at our GATES™ greenhouse and now all our Texas facilities will be equipped with at least one ProDrain system. The information that ProDrain provides us is priceless: we can use it for irrigation management, stress detection, growth monitoring, and production planning. It is key to our GATES concept, and without it we wouldn’t have been able to go to the edge of what is possible with the plants and learn about their capabilities in high radiation climate. After HortiMaX introduced the ‘ProDrain irrigation start’ for the MultiMa in 2009, we used it to trigger irrigation at our Gates™ facility, consistently maintaining moisture content and undersaturation in the desired ranges at different times of the day.

Over the years, we’ve learned a tremendous amount from the ProDrain readings. The system shows us the transpiration rate in relation to radiation, humidity, and temperature. At our facilities in Texas, radiation levels can exceed 1,000W/m2 for long periods, resulting in high plant transpiration. If conditions become too extreme and the plants’ stomata close, we see the impact as a reduced (or even negative) growth rate. ProDrain allows us to anticipate and prevent these ‘stress situations’. We will adjust the pad and fan or fogging system setpoints, or close the shade screens based on our observations of previous days. Since we know how far we can go, we can plan ahead and minimize any potential problems. But that is not all. ProDrain’s plant measurements also enable us monitor both the absolute plant weight, and the cumulative fresh weight increase, from day to day. We can compare these measurements with previous seasons and age of plant. Based on this information, we can anticipate production, without having to count or measure the fruit manually.

Want to know more about the experiences of Paul Selina and Village Farms of growing over 100kg quality tomatoes per square meter and what is needed to optimise the climate in a semi-closed or high tech greenhouse? Visit our inspiring session.

Wednesday 11 June 2014

11:30 - 12:00

Energy Pavilion, Greentech, Rai, Amsterdam.

Paul Selina - Vice President Applied Research, Village Farms
Village Farms, is one of the largest growers in North America. Paul helped Village Farms develop the GATES greenhouse. He has spent his entire working life in the greenhouse industry, he studied Agricultural Science at the University of Nottingham and his career has taken him to Mexico and many parts of the USA working in a wide range of climates and greenhouse technology.

Joost Veenman - Product manager Climate and Energy, HortiMaX
Studied Horticulture at HAS Delft, previous jobs: IPM advisor at Biopol, project coordinator at LTO Groeiservice. Works 8 years at HortiMaX, now as product manager process control. In 2013 project leader for the latest developments of air handler control.

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