If you want to cultivate strawberries year-round, you must regularly steam your containers. They do this every two months at Kwekerij Loos in the Netherlands.
Wymo Venlo steams the containers. Before they arrive, the soil is tipped out, and the containers neatly stacked. Everything is then ready before the steamer gets there. It is all wrapped in sturdy agricultural plastic which is then connected to the mobile equipment. It quickly reaches the desired temperature of at least 95°C.
"We blast the steam into the front of the stack. And warm air rises. So, we always measure the temperature at the bottom, at the end of the row of trays. If it's hot enough there, it certainly is at the top. When it reaches 95 degrees, I blow steam under the tarp for another 30 to 45 minutes. Everything's then disinfected, and the containers are ready for the next crop," explains Wymo Venlo's Arnold Driessen.
The farm's Arno Loos wants to begin each round of cultivation 'spotlessly'. He uses the tractor-trailer combination at his farm. It is fully equipped with all kinds of things. These include a boiler, forklift, tarpaulins, rollers, and steam tubes. Because everything is provided, the steaming is done quickly and efficiently. Wymo Venlo has more equipment: four trailers with boilers, three tractors, and three trailers.
Arnold Driessen and Arno Loos
Kwekery Loos grows strawberries on six hectares of greenhouses at two sites. Four of these hectares are under lights. By using assimilation lighting, they pick strawberries throughout the year. From mid-January onwards, they are one of the few growers harvesting Dutch strawberries. "The lights sweeten the strawberries, making them even tastier," says Arno.
'Innovative' is one of the farm's keywords. Where is that present? There are several examples. But one is that Sandra and Arno were one of the first to use lighting in a strawberry greenhouse. In 2005, they hung Son-T in the greenhouse. And so, they were one of the first Dutch strawberry growers that could do year-round cultivation.
Now, 16 years later, they are, once again, pioneers. They will soon be installing LEDs themselves in a part of the greenhouse. "The wiring is prepared. As for the rest, it's a plug-and-play system. We can do that ourselves."
Agrolux, Brinkman, and Signify are closely involved in supplying this lighting. And it is not only the LEDs that make this unique. There are two lamps, each with its own spectrum. "Hoogstraten ran tests which had promising results. I have every confidence in this system," Arno concludes.