Time to coat greenhouses

Now that temperatures are on the rise in the Northern Hemisphere, chalk coating companies can expect to be busy soon. Growers want to optimize their greenhouse climate and prevent excessive heat by using a screen, and coating with chalk is a tried and true method. In the Netherlands, Wessel de Vries expects a lot of calls. "Next week it will be a madhouse."

In recent weeks, coaters had to deal with poor weather conditions. Wessel, owner of Wessel de Vries HDR, was faced with strong winds, rain showers and high humidity while attempting to manually apply chalk coatings. Especially tulip greenhouses were early this year with their demand for chalk. "In the past few weeks, we've tried to apply the necessary chalk to the greenhouses between spells of bad weather."

At Vollebregt Optimal Cleaning they also suffered from the weather. Wil Vollebregt: "We have mainly coated greenhouses with bedding plants and 95 percent of orchid growers have had their greenhouses chalked. Next up are tomato and bell pepper growers, and in a couple of weeks we will take care of the rose and chrysanthemum growers."

Compared to 2017, Vollebregt Optimal Cleaning has only had half as much business due to the winter weather. "Fortunately, March is not the busiest chalk month, so the backlog can be caught up in April if the weather is good." Vollebregt Optimal Cleaning has an average of four vehicles on the road to achieve this.

Mechanical coating
Wessel has seen an increasing demand for special types of chalk, such as chalk that diffuses light which prevents shadows on the plants. Wessel also experimented with extra reflective chalk to keep more heat out. In the coming weeks, Wessel de Vries HDR will use three employees per greenhouse in order to get everything done quickly.

He would prefer to chalk everything mechanically, but that is not always possible. About 60 percent of Dutch greenhouses are currently suitable for mechanical coating. "Any greenhouse with a rail we prefer to do with a machine, because that allows us to distribute chalk more evenly and it is safer for our employees. Machine-based chalking is better, and ultimately we would like to use this method for 80 percent of greenhouses."

For more information:
Vollebregt Optimal Cleaning

Wessel de Vries HDR

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