Labor-Saving Equipment: What’s A Must Have?

Irrigation controls, flat fillers and seeders are a grower’s top labor savers, according to the 100-plus growers who responded to a GreenhouseGrower.com survey late in 2011.

We asked all growers the following question: “Which of the following would you describe as your top ‘labor savers?’ (Choose up to 3).” Among the 15 choices growers had, irrigation controls (37.3 percent) was cited as the top labor saver. Nearly 30 percent of those surveyed referred to flat fillers as a top labor saver, and 22.7 percent say they couldn’t do without their seeder.

Potting machines (18.7 percent), fogging/misting equipment (17.3 percent) and ventilation systems (16.0) were also somewhat popular choices. Blackout curtains (2.7 percent), automated internal transportation systems (2.7 percent) and lighting (5.3 percent) were the least-chosen choices.

Growers with more than 500,000 square feet of greenhouse space, however, have a different perspective on the most labor-saving items. Among the biggest growers, transplanters (66.7 percent) are by far the biggest labor saver. Irrigation controls (33.3 percent) and seeders (33.3 percent) are also key items, but conveyors (25.0 percent) ranked higher than the group including all growers.

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