NL: Van Uffelen Flowers enthusiastic about Next Generation Growing

Around Christmas of 2016, Dutch grower Van Uffelen Flowers installed air treatment units at their chrysanthemum nursery. Although they have worked with them for only half a year, the results of Next Generation Growing are very positive so far, according to Kees, Marco and Jeffrey van Uffelen. "We now can control the humidity very accurately."



The new 39,000 m2 greenhouse - a design from Technokas - was already completed in April 2016, but lacked the Air Treatment Units (ATUs) with air ducts for the climate installation. However, the greenhouse was already fully prepared for Next Generation Growing with special portals in the end walls and a second energy screen. "We actually wanted to wait for a couple of years," says son Jeffrey, but the chrysanthemums in the new greenhouse grew so vigorously that we were forced to act, we needed to be able to remove the moisture properly. Also, at the right time a grant (EHG / MEI) became available which made the investment more attractive. Since Christmas of 2016, the ATUs in the new greenhouse have been in operation and working well.

Next generation growing
Last year - before the arrival of the climate installation - we harvested 8% more branches in the new greenhouse than at our previous location with the same variety, Kees explains. "The production per m2 is unprecedented for this cultivation." The new glass (diffused glass with double-sided coating) and the fresh soil have undoubtedly contributed to this, Kees thinks. "But the crop grew so strongly that we were unable to drain sufficient moisture through the air grid windows." Now that the ATUs are installed and the air ducts hang over the crop, the quality of the crop has improved, says Jeffrey. "The temperature in the greenhouse is more evenly divided. And now we can control the humidity very accurately. If we set a RH of 88%, that RH will be maintained," says Kees enthusiastically. "It is expected that the bud development will be more uniform and the percentage of lighter branches will be reduced", Marco adds. "We therefore expect to remove less during harvest. That saves labor."



Saving energy
The climate system has actually been designed to save energy. Kees and Jeffrey also expect that that will be the case – an estimated saving of 7 m3/m2 - but they first want to learn how to grow good flowers in the new greenhouse. Up till now it’s been above expectations. "Even when we still have to go through the winter," Jeffrey remarks. "But the results so far are positive. An additional advantage is that you can cool somewhat in summer, 2 or 3 degrees. At other companies in the country, many chrysanthemums started to delay growth. In Brabant and Limburg some companies had nothing to harvest for a couple of days, but we were not affected at all."

Kees adds to this: "We also direct a lot of CO2 to our chrysanthemums, up to 200 kilo per hectare / hour. If you can keep the air grids closed longer by moving air through the ducts, that's also positive. Maybe not in the summer months, but certainly in the spring and autumn. It really is a tool to make fewer mistakes. I think it will become the standard in the future in all chrysanthemum greenhouses."


Source: Technokas

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