NZ: Mega greenhouse nears completion

It has been a long and arduous journey over the last three years, but finally, LeaderBrand's first stage of its major greenhouse project, a smaller three-hectare greenhouse, is nearing completion. Preparation of the soil has now begun.

Gordon McPhail, LeaderBrand's general manager of farming, said he was excited to be focusing on preparing the soil for the first trial crop. "The soil is extremely compacted from several years of construction, including telehandlers, concrete mixers, and cherry-pickers.

"We have already had the tractors in breaking up and turning over the soil to start to get it back into a healthy state for planting. This is a crucial stage and is going to take several weeks to complete."

Mr. McPhail said they were starting to use all the specialist equipment built into the greenhouse, including the water storage, treatment and overhead irrigation system, new vent system, and applying an in-house compost to the soil to support the soil biology. "Undercover farming will be a massive change to the way we currently farm, but we think that this style of farming will be the way of the future.

"The first lot of crops are going to be a lot of trial and error, but we are looking forward to the greenhouses helping to mitigate weather impacts and supply variations while allowing us to explore more technology and farm more sustainably," he said.

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