To accelerate breeding improvements of crops such as barley, the agricultural crop breeding company Nordic Seed recently opened its brand-new indoor research facility, which has a full line instalment from Senmatic. Nordic Seeds expects to speed its early stages of the crop breeding process from 3-4 years to just 1 year.
Growing crops depends on the season; some are grown in spring and others in winter – or rather that used to be the case. With its brand-new 2,200 m2 greenhouse, Danish-based agricultural crop breeding company Nordic Seed now grows crops such as barley year-round despite its actual growing season being in winter. In just one calendar year, they expect to grow three to four generations – something which in the field would have lasted three to four years.
The objectives when breeding agricultural crops are most importantly to improve yield potential, resistance to diseases and end use quality. In other words, crop breeding research increases the number of harvested grains per ha. in the fields.
Indoor growth technologies to improve outdoor crops
Being an expert in indoor greenhouse technologies, Senmatic was hired to deliver an extensive full-line technological solution for the new research facility. The delivery included all electricity installations, climate control, watering and fertilizing mixer, pipes, and ventilation.
Equal growth conditions throughout the greenhouse ensure stability
Creating a greenhouse where each part of the plants’ needs can be controlled gives a homogeneous growth environment, meaning that Nordic Seed is now certain crops have identical growing conditions throughout the greenhouse – and stability is key when breeding crops, says Jens Due Jensen.
A flexible watering system
For Nordic Seed being able to sectionalize the greenhouse was important. Creating different types of crops to research and analyze the different qualities, meant that they required a flexible watering system, which could be divided into smaller sections.
To fulfil this requirement, Senmatic installed a watering valve at each table. In industrial greenhouses watering valves typically water 20 tables at a time. This means that they can control one table at a time and control and customize which nutrients, watering times and fertilizing for different crops at different tables and thereby grow a diverse selection of crops much quicker. The precise monitoring gives full flexibility.
The system makes it possible to water with different fertilizer recipes. The recipes are defined from a central computer and are delivered to the chosen table from the mixer. The mixer also controls pH-values. The new greenhouse has a total of 80 tables, two watering strands, two fertilizer tanks and two return water basins.
Senmatic as partner throughout the process
In the early stages of the extensive project, Senmatic provided planning and counselling. The building process was initiated by installing all piping and electricity.
From there the technological solutions were installed: the AMI Penta fertilizer mixer, a LCC4 for electronic climate control, sensors to control humidity, temperature and CO2, as well as gear motors and rack-and-pinion vent opening system for ventilation.