Svensson, in cooperation with Apex Greenhouses recently held an educational seminar showcasing how growers in New Zealand can significantly improve crop growth and the greenhouse climate through the correct use of climate screens.
“There is often insufficient hands-on knowledge available,” says Ton Habraken, Greenhouse Climate Consultant at Svensson. This educational seminar provided adequate knowledge to growers as participants found the meeting to be positive and enriching.
Most horticultural businesses in New Zealand are concentrated around Auckland. The meeting was held in Tuakau, which is approximately 60 kilometres south of Auckland. Around 25 growers of various crops – such as bell peppers, tomatoes, blueberries and cymbidiums, participated in the meeting.
The focus of the educational meeting was on improving growth and greenhouse climate. Habraken: “In addition to the general principles, I discussed how to monitor the absolute humidity content and how you can influence both the growth and the climate using climate screens. I concluded with limiting outgoing longwave radiation and the use of diffuse light. Showing the effect of Svensson’s New Harmony and new Luxous 1147 FR and the screens in relation to this.
Necessary for all plants
Up until four or five years ago, growers in New Zealand didn’t believe that the use of screens were necessary. “The climate in winter is mild and temperatures hardly warmer than 25 degrees in the summer. Despite this, there is still a lot of light making the screens necessary for almost all crops, including vegetable crops,” tells Habraken. “The sunlight sometimes reaches 1200W/m², which is too much for the crops. The "Next Generation Growing" has also demonstrated that growers can significantly improve their greenhouse climate and the overall crop quality. Energy saving is only an additional bonus.”
Lots of lessons
The meeting, which was concluded with hors d'oeuvres and cocktails, and was received positively as the event was marked as a massive success. One of the growers, who was planning to build a new tomato greenhouse, did not yet know whether he wanted a screen. After the meeting, he was certain he needed screens: “I might need two screens.”
There were also growers who already were using climate screens, including Roelf Schreuder, Production Director of Protected Crops at New Zealand Gourmet, who uses screening for the 12 hectare operation of bell peppers and blueberries. “I already knew a little about climate screens, but I learned a lot about the different screen types and the different benefits. Since the meeting, I now pay more close attention to the moment of opening the screen. I need to replace some of our screens next year and can now make the right choice thanks to this new knowledge gained from the meeting. I thought it was a very successful presentation.”
Habraken also noted the importance of using the screens correctly and how growers must be properly educated. “You cannot create the best possible climate in the greenhouse if you use screens incorrectly. Knowledge of proper screen use is crucial. Svensson’s consultants try to transfer this knowledge to growers around the world.”