Mexican grower Natural Food Planet, located at the Agropark in Queretaro, began its operations in 2013 and is currently producing TOV tomatoes. Florencio Espinola, who is in charge of production, was already an experienced screen user prior to his start with Natural Food Planet, and understood the importance behind using screens to maintain the desired greenhouse climate.
“The decision to install a light-diffusing HARMONY 4145 screen was initially to reduce the amount of heating needed in the winter and to create shade in the summer,” Florencio notes.
In June and July, in the beginning stages of cultivation, the screen needs to occupy 80-90% of the growing space in peak radiation hours, during which time the transplanting is done. Because the crop is brought in from the nursery, it’s often difficult for the plants to adapt to the new environment. Natural Food Planet’s Harmony screen makes this transition much smoother and creates better growing conditions for the crop.
Following the two to three week transplanting process, the use of the screen is gradually decreased as the plant grows big enough to adopt on its own to the climate.
“With the use of the screen we’ve also seen irrigation benefits, having a lower inside greenhouse temperature translates into needing less irrigation for our plants. Nothing works in excess now,” Florencio adds.
When going from winter to spring, there is a very sudden change in the climate and the plant– which is just sprouting– and tends to become overstressed and unable to adapt to seasonal changes in a rapid manner. The operations Harmony screen allows the plant to maintain an optimum climate during this time period.
“From October to February when night temperatures can drop to as low as 8°C (46°F), we need the screen to save on heating and to prevent condensation buildup directly on the plant. Most of the water that falls on to the screen is defogged with side screens and extractors.“
"For better shade uniformity we prefer to use our mobile screen over whitewashing. With the screen the crop is more even, this was especially noticeable in our last cycle when we experienced several cloudy periods."
Florencio concludes, “We believe that with our Harmony screen we have better production and higher quality fruits for exportation, the difference being whether we whitewashed or weren’t using a screen.”
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