After upgrading the sticking room at their Afula nursery just recently, Israeli young plant grower Hishtil is already thinking about the next step to keep up with the annually increasing production at this site; they have plans to add 2 or 3 sticking machines in 2020. "In this way, we can stay at the same labor amount and increase production with robots", says Doron Naveh, Afula Nursery Manager.
Afula nursery is one of the four nurseries of Hishtil in Israel. At this location they have all their mother stock and do all vegetative propagation. 95% of the rooted and unrooted cuttings are produced for worldwide export and 5% is for the local market. They are specialized in the propagation of conventional and organic herbs, but they also produce other patio plants and perennials. "All the high standards for organic produce is all coming from Afula nursery."
Upgraded sticking room
About two months ago, they opened their brand new enlarged sticking room; the area workers stick the cuttings in the different plug sizes. Doron is happy with the new facility: "It replaced the old facility that was built in 2000 and makes the work process more efficient for an increase in production with the same number of workers, improves the sanitary conditions for better plug quality and provides enough room for more workers if needed, daily rooted cuttings capacity is 650,000 plugs! On top of that, the building has all the automation and mechanization for a better working environment."
With the sticking room just finished, future plans are already in the pipeline. "Every year, our production grows around 5-15 percent. In order to keep up with the growth, we need a higher production capacity. However, as labor becomes more expensive, increasing the number of workers is a less attractive option. "It is important for us to stay and sell our products at a reasonable price level." Therefore, Hishtil is thinking of adding 2 or 3 ISO sticking machines next year. "In this way, we can improve the efficiency, less depends on employees, stays at same labor amount and increase production with robots - which we think is the future."