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Wim Vreugdenhil:

"Make substrate slabs as dry as possible"

Marel Loonwerk in De Lier has many years of experience with the work activities during the crop rotation. "With a full schedule, we start each year with the crop rotation of tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and eggplants," says manager Wim Vreugdenhil. This includes doing the mechanical work. This begins with removing the leaf cloths with tomato leaf and/or crop to shred and to drive it outside. Next the removal of the substrate slabs from the greenhouse. Then cleaning the inside of the glass roof and to disinfect the greenhouse racks.

Effective and efficient
In order to organize the crop rotation in an effective and efficient way, it is necessary to make good arrangements with the growers about the date and the scope of work to be carried out. Vreugdenhil: "Our schedule goes haywire, if a grower wants to make late changes. Then it will be difficult to move things around because we have made arrangements to work at other customers." He’s asking growers to register how much time the various works during the crop rotation will take. This enables them to make a reliable schedule. The contracting business itself has enough spare equipment. In case of a malfunction of a machine, a quick replacement means that the schedule can still be met.

Prevent water leakage emission
Another important point is that growers should pay more attention to drying the substrate slabs as much as possible. With dry substrate slabs, the emission of cultivation and leakage water can be prevented. "If the slabs are not dry, that leakage water ends up on the concrete path and on the property during transport. This can be prevented by using leak-proof bins on the forklift truck, but then we can take fewer slabs out of the greenhouse. This is only an option if the growers allow us more time, because they are consistently chasing us to do the work faster. The greenhouse surface keeps on increasing and the time for crop rotation is getting shorter all the time," said Vreugdenhil. The contracting business is absolutely ready to bring out the slabs in leak-proof bins, if that is required for instance for the emission-free greenhouse or when the regulations will require this in the future.

Work safely
To be able to drive in and out safely, no one should be working in the greenhouse space who also would need to use the concrete path. The manager: "The forklifts drive at 25 km per hour back and forth over the concrete path for the removal of shredded crops or substrate slabs. To prevent accidents, the greenhouse must be vacated."

During cleaning of the glass with fluoride, a grower must not clean the cultivation gutters with chlorine at the same time. Vreugdenhil: "The vapor effect of both substances causes the life-threatening chlorine gas. We warn the growers to do this cleaning in advance. But it does happen and obviously they value speed more highly than safety!"

Cleaning silos
For cleaning the inside of the glass roof (without coating) the contracting business almost always uses Flusolforte. "The product is cheap and provides the cleanest glass. The concentration depends on how dirty the glass is." For the rinsing we use quite a lot of water. With 280 liters per minute and 80 bar pressure on the hose, we can clean the glass very well."

The greenhouse racks are disinfected by fogging with Intra Hydrocare (hydrogen peroxide) or formalin. The contracting company is not often involved in the cleaning of the silos. The water is sucked out of the silo, is purified and subsequently stored in the sewage buffer.

Source: Glastuinbouw Waterproof (Harry Stijger)
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