UK: Greenhouse techniques help to maintain correct soil conditions for potatoes

With farmers reporting they may need to switch crops to avoid the predicted rise in risks associated with more frequent drought conditions, greenhouse control system experts, Tomtech believe they have a solution.

The driest February since 1959 has resulted in river flows, groundwater supplies, and reservoir levels remaining low heading into the summer.

With the threat weighing heavily on the minds of farmers across Britain, it has prompted some to totally rethink their crop rotation and plant fewer water-reliant crops.

“The lack of rainfall and subsequent drought makes it difficult to maintain the field conditions in which many crops grow successfully. Having the risk of not being able to produce a full yield is a major concern for farmers,” says Krzysztof Hernik, Managing Director of Tomtech.

As a result of the drought risk, Tomtech believes that farmers have a better opportunity to control the growing conditions of their crops by planting a larger portion under glass.

In addition, recent disruption to the UK salad supply chain from Spain has resulted in further opportunities to grow profitable crops in greenhouses.

“With our greenhouse control systems, you can easily maintain the perfect growing environment for crops, whatever the climate conditions, offering greater security,” adds Krzysztof Hernik.

For over 35 years, Tomtech has been providing everything needed to create, monitor and maintain perfect growing conditions in commercial greenhouses.

In Spring 2022, the UK government highlighted potential post-Brexit opportunities for UK agriculture to produce more crops under glass to challenge European growers.

In addition, growing in commercial greenhouses can provide some environmental and sustainability benefits when producing certain crops.

For example, in large-scale potato farming, plastic sheeting is used to cover the soil after planting in order to raise the ground temperature. The single-use plastic requires significant energy to produce and does not biodegrade, resulting in poor sustainability.

“The use of large quantities of plastic is harmful to the environment. With our greenhouse control systems, you are able to maintain the correct soil conditions for potatoes without the need for single-use plastics,” says Krzysztof Hernik.

Tomtech’s control systems are used across the UK and further afield to optimize growing conditions regardless of the weather’s unpredictability.

As the impact of climate change brings more frequent water shortages to the UK, Tomtech believes there may be more of a reliance on growing produce under glass where the conditions can be controlled.

“We are aware of the pressure that drier weather is putting on agriculture and horticulture. Having the ability to maintain your crops growing conditions, even through extreme weather, will reduce uncertainty amongst growers and avoid shortages of produce,” concludes Krzysztof Hernik.

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