Earlier this year we've published about Italian grower Sofia Michielie started a new greenhouse in Rovigo (north of Italy) for the cultivation of strawberries. She chose to use the Up and Down system, mkaing it possible to grow with a higher density.
This system, developed by Europrogress, Fiberlane Italia, Herbaria, Perlite Italiana and Scarabelli Irrigation, makes it possible to double the production on the same surface. It allows to cultivate the double number of plants per square meters
10 plants per square meter
The greenhouse and cultivation system for which Sofia was awarded with a price, covers 5500 square meters. The greenhouse is approximately 120 meters long and 50 meters wide and 4 meters high.
Thanks to the Up&Down greenhouse system, Sofia could fit 10 plants per square meter. "We have finished transplanting 55 thousand plants with the Up&Down greenhouse system. The density is 10 plants per square meter and harvesting will begin in early September to end in early November," she reports.
Strawberries transplanted in early July
5.500 square meters
"We decided to try something new and opted for five varieties: Cantus, Ania, Vivara, Portola and San Andreas", Sofia explains. This way they can test and see what suits them best.
Sofia Michieli during the spring harvest
No stable market
With regards to the spring harvest, the manager reports that prices have fluctuated as the market wasn't stable. There were moments with low prices at €2/kg and others with better prices at €3/kg.
"Feedback was positive when we started selling to wholesale markets under our brand Fragole di Sofia. Now clients are waiting for a good production in autumn as well. So far, our produce has been available in the Veneto region but we are looking for outlets in the rest of the peninsula as well. Our philosophy is to focus on quality rather than quantity."
Popular in Italy
The Up and Down system is not new in countries such as the Netherlands, but it is not as popular in Italy, especially when it comes to strawberries. The fruit is grown in soil-less conduits and the substrate is made of coir and perlite. Conduits are on two levels placed vertically, so operators can work standing straight.
The system is equipped with mobile gutters allowing to work on two different cultivation lines in an alternative manner. The gutters are connected to axes and motorized tubes through which they are automatically lowered and raised, depending on the agronomic needs.
During transplanting or crop collection operations, the gutters can then be lowered or raised at intervals so that to facilitate workers activities, therefore, allowing them to have more space inside the structure. In addition to this edge, the raising and lowering system, which represents the main characteristic of the “Up & Down” tool, allows to adjust the height of the cultivation lines to the desired level.
In this way operations tasks are further facilitated. During rest times, the entire cultivation is brought back to a single plan, so that to avoid the creation of shaded areas.
via San Cassiano, 112
45030 Crespino (Rovigo)