Located in the Valparaiso region of Chile, Hidroponicos La Cruz is conveniently situated near La Cruz— an area known for it's prominent fruit production and is often referred to as the “National Avocado Capital” —but it’s not just the avocado growers that have put this region in the Chilean fruit spotlight; nestled between the many avocado and citrus trees you will find the company’s hydroponic lettuce production greenhouse.
Hidroponicos La Cruz produces high quality lettuce varieties sold in supermarkets throughout Chile under the company’s “Pura Hoja” brand. The 18,000 square meter greenhouse, built with the latest technologies is run by the operations general manager, Victor Ulloa, who is a pioneer on the topic, ensuring that production processes conform to the highest efficiency and sustainability standards.
The regions climate, while relatively mild, didn't come without challenges for the general manager, who had growing light intensity concerns. “During the summer of 2012 high intensity light levels created an adverse effect on the plants, which translated into important quality loses” says Ulloa. In this region it’s normal to see radiation peaks up to 3000 joules/day with 14-15 hour days throughout the summer season.
“I knew about Svensson products because I use them in our tomato greenhouses and the first thing that came to mind when we considered expanding last winter was to install an open Harmony 4820 O shade screen to improve the climate condition and to reduce the stress level on the plant” explains Victor.
“Today we can say that the greenhouse climate is much better and the quality of the product we’re harvesting has improved tremendously. We’ve seen a significant drop in water temperatures circulating on the crop, helping to lower the risk of sanitary problems at the root level. As we continue to learn new and more effective ways of using the screen we’re confident that we made the right decision” concludes Victor.