“What would be necessary in order to optimize the cultivation process?” That question formed the starting point for the discussions about the new-build project for Florensis in Dinteloord (Netherlands). Now, just 18 months later, the first part of the high-tech greenhouse complex in the Nieuw-Prinsenland Greenhouse Farming Area is fully up and running. The innovative family-owned company – which originated in Hendrik-Ido-Ambacht – has closely involved its employees in the design process, resulting in a carefully planned and ‘smart’ production location for young plants. The first phase – a 6-hectare complex including a cabrio greenhouse, a Venlo greenhouse, automatic cutting planters, an efficient and sustainable water and energy room and PAR measurements – is an impressive sight.
At the start of the project, Florensis freed up some time for its employees so that they could help the company explore the very latest techniques and innovations. “We’re all experienced growers and cultivation specialists and we knew precisely what we wanted,” says Jan Arends, Manager Domestic Production at Florensis. “The time spent on the preliminary research paid off because the design and execution phases of the project ran smoothly, with very few setbacks.” That’s typical of Florensis, explains Chris Reeskamp, Account Manager at Priva: “For both Priva and our partner Stolze, the fact that it’s a family-owned company came across very strongly during the project. The employees are proud of the company and really want to secure a good future for it, which meant that we made carefully considered decisions together.”
Jan Arends, Manager Domestic Production (left), and Ewout Booij, Location Manager (right), inside the high-tech greenhouse at the Nieuw-Prinsenland Greenhouse Farming Area, Dinteloord
Smart strategic choices
During the design phase of the greenhouse complex in Dinteloord, the members of the project team were actively encouraged to ‘think big’ and suggest creative ideas. In that context, the employees were asked an important question right at the start of the project: “What would you need in order to optimize the cultivation process?”. Giving the Florensis team the freedom to let their imagination run wild resulted in smart strategic choices being made in the design phase in terms of innovations and techniques. For example, aided by Priva consultant Hein Jasperse, they explored ways to improve the screen control based on a PAR and PAR-sum measurement, among other things. The team also included multifunctional possibilities to make the greenhouse suitable for every type of crop.
Optimal light thanks to PAR control
When Florensis was planning the new greenhouse complex, one important objective was to be able to precisely control the amount of light. Florensis uses PAR sensors to measure the light intensity and light sum in the greenhouse in order to steer crop growth and quality. The Priva Connext process computer and the screens enable Florensis to maintain a constant level of light in the greenhouse. Hein Jasperse comments: “By working together closely and combining the specialist knowledge and experience from both sides, we were able to optimize the control quickly. It’s also important to map out clear strategies and support them with the relevant information, and I can help with that.”
The Priva E-measuring Box is used to measure the temperature, relative humidity and CO2 , and the PAR sensor measures the part of the light spectrum that activates photosynthesis in plants.
Multifunctional greenhouse for every type of crop
The greenhouse complex in Dinteloord offers such comprehensive technical opportunities that it could be used to grow any kind of crop, from tomatoes to flowers – and it is: “We don’t use the greenhouse ourselves in November and December, whereas they are peak months for tomato raising companies. We give such companies the opportunity to make use of our space. We took this into consideration in the design phase, which is why our greenhouses are fitted with the necessary equipment for tomato production,” says Jan Arends. “It’s a win-win situation, and works the other way round too; we’re allowed to make use of their space in our peak months of March and April.”
The cabrio greenhouse at Florensis in Dinteloord is used to harden off the plants before they are moved outdoors.
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