Greenhouse and equipment manufacturers recognize that every growing operation has its own set of needs and challenges. There is no one solution that works for everyone. The good news is, these suppliers are equally as distinctive as the growers they serve, in the unique ways that they can offer innovative solutions.
Greenhouse Grower TECHNOLOGY caught up with a few greenhouse and equipment manufacturers to find out how they work with growers to customize new structures and equipment for their needs. Each provided an example of a recent project and a problem a grower had that was solved with collaboration and cooperation with the respective supplier’s team. While these growers’ challenges are likely quite different from yours, perhaps you’ll gain an idea or see a solution that could be customized for your operation’s objectives.
Ludvig Svensson, Inc.
Svensson’s experts work side by side with growers to determine the best options for their unique growing climate. Svensson’s Climate Advice service includes a comprehensive review of the grower’s greenhouse, equipment, production, crops, location, and goals. Recommendations offer guidance on climate screen selection and other impacting factors such as mechanical systems integration. A smartphone app for iPhone and Android keeps details and product specifications at growers’ fingertips.
One of the largest greenhouse pepper growers in North America, Leamington, ON-based NatureFresh Farms, needed a way to protect its peppers from sunburn, without labor-intensive annual whitewashing. Because Leamington experiences both extreme cold in winter and intense heat in summer, it needed to provide shade without sacrificing light. NatureFresh chose a double-curtain system NatureFresh that combines Svensson’s Harmony open light diffusing shade and Luxous translucent energy-saving screen. Ultra-violet results show you can provide the same cooling effect using a shade screen as with whitewash, plus gain several hours of extra light each day.
Agam Greenhouse Energy Systems
An Israeli energy technologies company, Agam Greenhouse Energy Systems has developed a system that enables the creation of the semi-closed greenhouse. During the day, the structure is ventilated normally for temperature control. At night, when the heating and dehumidification needs are at peak, the structure is sealed tight. Basil growers in Canada and California are having success controlling downy mildew with Agam’s desiccant (vapor absorber) dehumidifier, while saving tremendous amounts of energy.
Envirotech Greenhouse Cultivation Solutions of Richmond, CA, represents North American business development for Agam Greenhouse Energy Systems.
Freeman Herbs of Beamsville, ON, placed two Agam machines in one control zone of its new, 90,000 square foot glass house for potted herbs production. Head Grower Brendan Hendriks says the performance is “better than we expected.” The technology’s most valuable benefit is preserving crop health. The machine filters the air of mold spores and keeps the canopy dry. Further, by keeping the environment closed and well insulated during the night, the operation typically saves about 60% of annual heating costs.
Grower’s Transplanting, a sister company of Rocket Farms (both owned by parent company Monterey Peninsula Horticulture), installed an Agam machine in one of its basil greenhouses in Salinas, CA. The cool-night/high-light climate is great for cultivation, but high humidity in the night and foggy mornings present fungal difficulties. Josh Chase, Research and Development Manager, says the tool that gives him the ability to eliminate considerable shrink attributed to downy mildew and too-high relative humidity/low vapor pressure deficits.
JGS research and institutional greenhouses are built to meet the varying and specific needs of its customers. No greenhouse project is the same. From containment compartments to blackout compartments, the company builds controlled areas customized to customers’ needs. JGS Limited offers solutions for research and institutional greenhouses with maximum flexibility from design concept to final construction.
JGS Limited recently completed a 40,000-square-foot research greenhouse facility for Vineland Research and Innovation Centre. This facility allows multiple scientists to perform experiments throughout as it is equipped with several compartments that are individually controlled environmentally. Each compartment has its own unique climate and separate temperature, humidity, CO2, irrigation, and light levels.
With more than 75 combined years in the greenhouse industry, the Merchney Greenhouses team includes product specialists who constantly upgrade the company’s product offerings to include the latest in greenhouse technology, and construction experts who understand the need to have products installed correctly and on time. Once a grower’s project requirements are determined, Merchney provides a detailed quote, along with supplemental specifications for all equipment, to allow clients to make informed decisions.
When ArborGen Inc., a worldwide leader in commercial forestry, required a new production greenhouse, it chose Merchney Greenhouses. The project consisted of 12,960 square feet of production area, along with a 1,080-square-foot head house. While there were several unique challenges on the project, the most critical was to provide an excellent growing environment in a hot, Southern-Georgia climate. Merchney designed the ventilation system to include exhaust fans capable of providing 1.3 air exchanges per minute, plus an evaporative cooling system, overhead low pressure fogging system, and an interior automated shade system. To increase overall efficiency, an underbench aluminum fin hydronic heating system was incorporated, along with a rolling bench system.
Nexus Greenhouse Systems
Nexus is known for providing top-notch customer service by some of the most knowledgeable sales people in the industry. Professional in-house engineers can design to fit grower operations’ space and needs. Nexus continues to improve its products, always looking for a more effective vent, door, bench, or greenhouse design. Just this month, the engineering team introduced the new Glide vent, which doubles the ventilation of a standard roof vent.
Lucas Greenhouses had outgrown its existing shipping area at its Monroeville, NJ, operation. Owner George Lucas worked with Jeff Warschauer at Nexus on a Dual Atrium greenhouse (five 42-foot by 240-foot utility houses) featuring hanging basket systems in the roof and 20 shipping doors. “We shaved three or four hours per day off shipping time with a team of 10 to 12 people just because of the increased ability to pull orders and get the trucks ready to go,” Lucas says. “We get a lot more accomplished.” The Dual Atrium also allows plants to remain in the facility for a longer period of time than in a hard-covered building.