"we can't afford to have droplets falling into the greenhouse"

How growers boost crop yields with greenhouse film EVO AC®

It has been six years since Plastika Kritis launched their EVO AC® film. According to the team, EVO AC, short for Evolution in Anti-Condensation, is the longest-lasting anti-drip film in the polyethylene greenhouse film market. Now that the film has been in use for several seasons, growers see how the film sustains the critical anti-drip and anti-mist features over an extended period, far exceeding that of conventional films. "Many growers report that EVO AC retains its properties for the entire 4-year lifespan," says Dimitris Doukas with greenhouse film manufacturer Plastika Kritis.

Polyethylene (PE) films have transformed the greenhouse industry due to their superior functional properties, the lower initial investment, and ease of maintenance, compared to alternatives such as glass and polycarbonate. Despite being the most popular choice for several decades, Dimitris says conventional PE films have fallen short in providing extended Anti-Condensate (AC) (or Anti-Dripping) functionality due to the migratory additive-based composition of materials used. "This composition results in a gradual loss of these features well before the end of the film's lifetime, typically in 18-24 months. To exacerbate matters, conventional AC tends to cause mist (or fog) in the greenhouse during early morning and before dawn when sharp fluctuations in temperature occur," he shows. 

Anti-condensate properties degrade after 18-24 months (left) and cause droplets that damage crops (right)

The negative impact of condensation, dripping, and fog on crops are well-known, as they diminish the quality and quantity of light, harm crops, and create conditions for fungal diseases to develop. This not only leads to reduced yields and slower crop cycles but also poorer crop quality and a greater dependence on pesticides. As a result, farmers frequently replace their films years before their useful lifetime, which serves as proof of the importance of the anti-drip feature.

In response to those persistent challenges, Plastika Kritis, a leading manufacturer of greenhouse films, has developed a solution using nanotechnology. Their innovative 8-layer EVO AC film provides powerful anti-drip and anti-mist effects with superior mechanical strength and clarity. Most importantly, it maintains these critical features for a much longer period. "In many cases, EVO AC was shown to endure for as long as the film itself, even when the film exceeded the guaranteed 4-year lifetime."

Since its launch in 2016, EVO AC has become the film of choice for thousands of professional growers worldwide across a diverse range of crops, from vegetables to flowers and fruits. During a recent interview, Robbie Johnson, General Manager at California Transplants, a large vegetable transplant farm, mentions: "We can't afford to have droplets falling into the greenhouse. They severely affect germination and plant growth. High humidity levels and fog are equally undesirable because they create diseases. With other films, when we noticed droplets after one or two years, we would immediately change the plastic. This meant extra costs to replace the film and a crew to install it. We have now covered all greenhouses in our 3.5mil ft² farms with EVO AC, and the higher value for money is obvious."

Conventional AC film after 2 years (left) versus an EVO AC film (right) after 4 years

Canada, Europe, China
According to Dimitris, growers in Canada, Mexico, Europe, China, and other areas have been using EVO AC with great success. The benefits described by Mr. Johnson are observed all over the world and under every climate. For instance, in areas with very cold climates, it is known that regular AC can't be effective because when external temperature drops below 15°F (-10°C), the additives in the film crystallize, and AC becomes ineffective. EVO AC functions effectively down to extremely low temperatures. Paul Dyck, the owner of Great Lake Greenhouses in Ontario, Canada, was one of the first to convert his entire farm to this product in North America. When asked about the topic, he stated that "…condensation blocks valuable light. We need as much light as possible, so we use EVO AC because of the extreme clarity and the effective anti-drip. We have had the same covers for over 4 years, and they work just like day one. Also, it's clearly a much stronger, more rigid film".

Fog (mist) elimination under EVO AC (right) versus conventional PE (left) adjacent flower greenhouses

All those characteristics create a healthier growing environment that leads to higher crop yields and earliness. In Türkiye, a tomato farm reported that with the use of EVO AC, they were able to increase production from 7.5lbs/plant to 11lbs/plant, while trials conducted on cannabis by Prof. Bilalis at the Agricultural University of Athens, Greece, showed that EVO AC UV-open outperformed regular films on crop yield and qualitative characteristics. This is not surprising, given the sensitivity of cannabis plants to humidity and dripping and the need for the highest amount of light at the appropriate periods.

Improved crop growth with EVO AC (right) in the same exact farm, with same growing techniques

"The development of the EVO AC film by Plastika Kritis has transformed the greenhouse industry by providing the longest-lasting anti-condensation available and enabling more efficient and sustainable agricultural practices across all types of crops," Dimitris says. "Years ago, PE covers were considered the inexpensive protective solution, but with advancements in materials science, we are able to make the plastic film an invaluable growth tool for farms around the world. We continue to invest in cutting-edge films that address grower needs and positively impact a farm's bottom line." Along those lines, Plastika Kritis plans to soon release the next generation of EVO AC products, which promise to significantly increase the amount of light transmission in the greenhouse. In the US, EVO AC films are sold under the Sunmaster™ Films brand, and they are available in both crystal and high-diffusion versions, depending on the type of greenhouse, area, and crop.

For more information:
Dr. Dimitris Doukas  
Agricultural Films Division
Plastika Kritis

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