Thai tomato growers Thomas Ruiter and Menno Keppel have recently built a state of art Alma greenhouse from Asian Perlite/ Greenhouse Solutions Asia. Luuk Runia was so kind to share some pictures of the construction process as well as a detailed case study on the greenhouse structure that is especially designed for growing in tropical climates.
'Take Me Home tomatoes' has its production area in thehighlands just above Chiang Mai city, the capital of the most northern provincein Thailand. The farm is located at an altitude of 850 meters above sea level,and therefore has a cooler climate, which is more suitable for the productionof greenhouse vegetables than the lowlands.
Even-though the farm is located in the highlands, theclimate is not optimal during all months of the year. In some months it issimply too hot or too humid for a good tomato fruit setting, resulting in loweryields. High-Tech measurements, such as cooling/screening/fogging or forcedventilation could be taken, but are relatively costly when put next to theyield returns in the country.
The only measurements that could be taken is looking for alocation higher up, or using a greenhouse design that utilizes the naturalclimate in the most optimal way... Changing location was no option for Tame MeHome, since they've have set up a farm with all the necessary infrastructureover the last 10 years. Moving would be simply too expensive... so thisknowledge left them with one other option; finding a greenhouse structure withthe best climate without having to invest in high-tech solutions.
In their previous greenhouse design, a 'sawtooth' with agutter that is at 2.5-3.0 meter and the roof top 4.0-4.5, the temperatureinside is about 2.5 degrees Celsius higher than the temperature outside. Onlywhen there is a bit of a breeze outside, the greenhouse design enables someventilation, otherwise there is hardly any air movement inside. Unfortunatelythere is no constant breeze 700km from the ocean, and therefore most of thetime no ventilation.
'Asian Perlite Industries Sdn Bhd' designed the 'Alma'greenhouse construction, specifically for the tropical (lowland) climate, thatenables ventilation at all times, even when there is no wind. Because of thedesign features of the 'Alma' greenhouse, the ventilation surface atthe side and top of the greenhouse are 100% larger than the old greenhouse TakeMe Home is using.
So at the beginning of 2014 They started the construction oftheir first trail 'Alma greenhouse'... Now, at the end of October 'Take Mehome' has already started harvesting in their first 2,000 square meter 'Almagreenhouse' and are more than enthusiast about the results. They have beenrecording the greenhouse versus the outside temperature and come toan average 1.5 degrees Celsius lower greenhouse temperature than the outsidetemperature. This is a reduction of 4.0 degrees in comparison with their oldgreenhouse! This is a huge improvement, that is clearly noticeable in the crophealth, crop growth and production yields... the final results still have tocome, but the start is very promising.
At the very moment the company is finishing the constructionof their second 2,000 square meter greenhouse on a new plot of land. Besidesbuilding these new greenhouses the company has decides to start replacing theold greenhouses with the 'Alma greenhouse'.
Take Me Home set themselves thegoal of increasing their production with 50% in the next 2 years. Apart frombuilding more greenhouses for this purpose the company has the strategy of increasingyields per m2 of existing land and infrastructure by upgrading the greenhousesto 'Alma'. Therefore the company has just expressed their intention to orderanother 4,000 meter in the beginning of 2015.
The success of the Greenhouse and its result cannot besolely credited to the Alma greenhouse, as the Sercom irrigation unit incombination with good farm management by Menno Keppel and Thomas Ruiter andtheir team makes it a complete success story.
Asian Perlite and Take Me Home will be exhibiting at the Horti Asia 2015 in Bangkok from 17-19 March, 2015 at BITEC in Bangkok, Thailand.
For more information:
Asian Perlite Industries Sdn. Bhd. (Greenhouse Solutions Asia)
Luuk Runia, Director
72B Persiaran Camellia 4,
39000 Tanah Rata,