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Vietnam: 'Improved working conditions since using coating'

Until five years ago Apollo Farm had not used any coatings. The company, which has 3 ha of glass greenhouses and 6 ha of poly greenhouses, was considering whether or not to invest in an external screen for the glasshouse. That idea was abandoned but it was still necessary to protect the plants, which it chose to do with a coating. ReduSol worked so well that the company also decided to use the coating on the poly greenhouses.

Apollo Farm is part of the Royal Base Corporation, of Taiwan. It is located 300 kilometres from Ho Chi Minh City and grows phalaenopsis pot plants, young plants and cut flower stems. “We specialise in producing cut flower stems. At the moment we produce 20,000 of them per week. We guarantee the consumer a certain quality and vase life,” says farm manager Yaojen Liu. “We sell mainly to Japan and the USA but also to the rest of the world. A part remains in Vietnam itself – and this is a growing share.”

High radiation
The region, around the provincial capital Da Lat, is 1000 metres above sea level. The climate is stable throughout the year with a maximum temperature of about 32ºC and a minimum of 10ºC. “The radiation can rise to 1100 Watt/m2,” says Liu. “And we notice that the maximum temperature has been rising in recent years.”
Without protection from the sun, flower quality decreases. The orchid does need a certain sum of light, but if this becomes excessive it has a negative effect. By providing 60% shading the flower develops into a nice size.

Apply after rainy season
The farm manager is very pleased with ReduSol; the coating is also used on their main nursery in Taiwan. He sees no reason to change the current usage. “After the rainy season in October we apply a thick layer of about 20 to 25 buckets per ha. In February or March we apply an additional layer of 15 buckets/ha. We have never removed the old coating previously but this year we are going to apply ReduClean to the greenhouse roof to give it a good cleaning,” he says. “ReduSol stays on well but there is some wear because occasionally we experience a tropical rain storm. We currently apply it manually but we are looking for another method in order to apply it more evenly.”

Lower energy use
The coating also has had a positive effect on energy consumption. The areas of the greenhouse used for flower induction need to be cooled if the plants are going to produce good flower buds. With ReduSol on the roof the greenhouse is now not as warm so less energy is required for cooling. Overall, the climate in all areas of the greenhouse is much more uniform. As well as the orchids the people working in the greenhouse also benefit. “It is a more pleasant working environment when the roof is coated,” concludes Liu.

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