How do food producers deal with the global food issue? The growing demand for food and increasing challenges in the production will be a considerable challenge during the coming years. Codema has both the knowledge and dozens of years’ experience in horticulture and offers producers innovative solutions. Roeland van Dijk, Cultivation systems Account manager at Codema, discusses the potential of a mobile gutter system which results in savings on water and labor, ensures efficient use of space and is also beneficial to the environment.
Seeing opportunities for customers
Roeland grew up in the greenhouses. He started as a work placement student with Codema, and 25 years ago he began work with Codema as a technician. With his knowledge of logistic systems and experience with Codema’s logistic applications for customers, he is meanwhile the expert in logistic solutions.
“What I like is the contact with the market, our customers. Looking at what innovations we as Codema can offer answers to the questions of our customers. I see the opportunities which our innovations offer and think along with the customer about how we can best deploy those innovations for them.”
More and more specialist questions
For years, Codema has already been delivering multi-layer container systems for ornamental plants. Based on that knowledge and expertise, Codema received specialist questions increasingly often from food growers. In order to meet that demand, Codema has further developed a mobile gutter system. With this system, during planting the gutters are next to each other and during the growth phase the distance between the gutters is automatically increased. In this way, every plant is given the optimum space to grow, and the total cultivation area is used as efficiently as possible.
From seed to harvestable product, fully automated
‘’Codema has the various disciplines available as a result of which we can build the complete system”, Roeland explains. Our software, which has been specifically developed for the horticultural sector, plans the use of space in the greenhouse so that the grower can make optimum use of the space. It gives a total overview of the cultivation available in the greenhouse and the cultivation phase of each plant. Our software can also optimize all the moving of containers or trays with young plants in the greenhouse. It is practically unique that the entire process from seed to harvestable product can be automated.”
“A mobile gutter system offers a logistic solution for the crops where no more treatments are required after planting, such as lettuce and herbs. In addition, thanks to the use of nutrient film techniques, the plants are given exactly enough water and fertilizer. A pump ensures that the water enriched with nutrients circulates through the root system of the plant. After filtration and re-dosing of nutrients, all the drain water is recycled. This ensures complete water circulation. The system results in minimum use of water and fertilizer, and nothing enters the environment which does not belong there.”
“As well as saving on water and fertilizer, this system also saves on labor. Since all the containers or trays with young plants automatically move through the greenhouse, until the time of harvesting, employees are no longer required. Less manual treatments are therefore necessary, and a grower ultimately saves on labor.”
‘’Codema not only builds the complete system, but we also take care of the installation and the maintenance. The advantage to the customer is that all the technical activities are dealt with by one supplier, and they have one point of contact.”
Development of a modular mobile gutter system
The specialized knowledge of Codema in the area of water management, logistics, climate control, lighting, cultivation systems, software, and engineering is used to develop the mobile gutter system further. These innovations lead to even higher efficiency and a reduction in water consumption.
“Nowadays, we see that growers want to vary more and more with regard to the varieties of lettuce or herbs, on the basis of the changes in market demand. We wish to offer our customers that variety and flexibility so that with relatively low investment, they can also use the same system for a different variety of lettuce or herbs. We develop a so-called modular mobile gutter system, whereby more variation in crops is possible. At the moment, we are carrying out a project in China, for instance, where various new techniques are being applied. I notice that there is also a great deal of demand from European countries for a modular mobile gutter system.”
The innovations by Codema in water management, logistics, climate control, lighting, cultivation systems, software, and engineering offer food producers worldwide new answers to business questions.