Nowadays, most high-tech tomato greenhouses have at least one moveable climate screen. The Swedish company Ludvig Svensson is the worldwide market leader in climate screens. The company sees the demand for a second screen increasing, as well as the demand in less cold regions, where the advantages of screens are being recognized more and more.
Senior Consultant Hugo Plaisier was already working at Ludvig Svensson in 1985 when the demand for climate screens suddenly increased dramatically.
“The reason for this was that gas had become expensive, but a year later when the price of gas collapsed, the enthusiasm for screens was immediately over”, Plaisier looks back.
It was only in 2004 that the demand increased again, once more due to the higher price of gas and a different pricing structure.
“Since then there has been a good demand, and meanwhile more than 90 percent of the tomato greenhouses in countries with colder winters use a screen. In the Netherlands, that rate is almost 100 percent.”
Now that the energy prices have decreased somewhat, tomato growers continue to use screens.
“By using screens, they not only achieve a high energy saving, but they also ensure a better greenhouse climate, which is
beneficial for the production and quality. Furthermore, sustainability has been become an important issue, and screens also contribute to sustainability because they ensure energy savings”, explains Plaisier.
In addition, in less cold regions such as South Europe, Morocco and Mexico, the demand for moveable screens is increasing. The screens are used as a sunshade and to combat radiation during the night. Radiation is not good for the greenhouse climate, because it causes growth stagnation and condensation which lead to fungal diseases. Recently, in Almeria, a fixed
chalk screen was compared to a moveable screen. The results showed that the production under the moveable screen was 25 percent higher. The screen is open in the morning until at least 10 am, so light can be utilized optimally.
The latest developments that Plaisier sees in screening for tomato cultivation is a second screen – either two transparent screens on top of each other, or a transparent screen and a screen to shield the light.
“This development is still in its infancy, but linked to The Next Generation Cultivation, it could lead to even greater energy savings. In colder regions in particular, the investment in a second screen is soon earned back, and sometimes it is just a necessity to keep the greenhouse at the right temperature, without the pipe temperature becoming too high.”
“Each country or climate requires its own screen solution, so Ludvig Svensson has therefore developed numerous different screens. For every nursery, we can calculate the increase in production and the payback period. We employ advisors who, together with the grower, can ensure the best solution.”