Over the last 50 years, the greenhouse industry has grown from small family based operation to large enterprises, from low-tech glasshouse with little environmental control to high-tech modern greenhouse with complex climate control systems, from soil to soiless production, and from short production cycle to year-round production of high quality produce.
Some important facts to know:
- Light is the most important growth factor in plants production 1% more light in a greenhouse gives 1% more production.
- Adding CO2 to your greenhouse production will increase your tomato production by 30% to 40%.
- By the year 2020 The Netherlands will have an energy neutral greenhouse production
- Labor and shipping costs in North America can be at least five times more costly than heating so mechanize where possible.
The most productive tomato farm in the world at this moment produces 104 Kg tomatoes per m2. Numbers tell the tale: Without adequate water tomato yields around Leamington Ontario in Canada run about 75.000 – 86.000 kg tomatoes per hectare. If the growers has a good irrigation system it will achieve almost double, 124.000 to 148.000 kg tomatoes per hectare. If these tomato plants are put in Greenhouses, you can achieve a 500.000 in an average middle tech greenhouse up till over 1.000.0000 kilos per hectare in a high tech greenhouse such as Village Farms
The computer age has been with us for 30-plus years and many operations still don’t take advantage of its potential. Computers are tools that can enhance steps and procedures in our business when we know what the outcomes are. The can definitely solve problems. By using the computer to take care of routine tasks of record keeping, planning and retrieving information, we will have more time to solve problems and improve our operations.
Science behind the Method
Village Farms is a leader in agricultural research and foremost in North America for developing improvements in greenhouse production technology. Village Farms applied research division continues to invest tremendous resources in the areas of Climate Engineering, Plant Biology & Pathology, Entomology, and Ecology. For almost twenty years, Village Farms has been at the forefront of technological greenhouse innovation by developing creative solutions in challenging climatic environments, not to mention, has achieved and documented the world record for highest yield.
Village Farms scientists are engaged in partnerships with numerous academic and applied research institutes throughout the world to test and implement new technology in their greenhouse production facilities. Their state of the art greenhouse system is, in continued development, employing an integrated approach of theoretical and applied research methods. The end result is an efficient system from seed to fork built on proprietary intellectual property with capabilities like no other in the world.
Village Farms’ “crown glory” in applied research is their Greenhouse Advanced Technology Expert System (GATES). GATES system was created to perfect vegetable and fruit greenhouse production in high-sun and low-humidity areas. Adjacent to the facilities in Marfa, Texas this revolutionary greenhouse is a combination of unique and valuable intellectual property. The entire project is a multi-million dollar investment developed using new concepts in greenhouse design technology, climate control, and crop management. Utilizing new combinations of hardware, software, sensors, and control systems, GATES technology has defined industry standards in advanced food safety principles, production levels, and environmental stewardship values for greenhouse production.
GATES CAPABILITIES :
365 day production of high quality fruit providing 100% fulfillment of customer requirements.
contained environment excludes all outside pests while inside pests are controlled with IPM (Integrated Pest Management), making GATES production 100% insecticide free.
production levels are 60% higher than average greenhouse production.
yield 20-30 times more product per acre than conventional field production
technology achieves lowest price per pound in the industry today.
uses 100% of water with no waste and recycles 100% of irrigation drainage to conserve water and fertilizer.
is designed to use waste heat to warm the greenhouses.
is designed to recover CO² from boiler and power plant exhaust to utilize plant for increasing crop growth.
uses 3 types of evaporation to cool and humidify the greenhouse.
water efficient growing system for tomatoes requires 1/7th of water usage, compared to field grown tomatoes, further translating into an 86% savings in water usage.
has the most sophisticated plant monitoring available, including cameras, plant temperatures, water uptake, and growth rates. These measurements are all minute by minute in real time.
uses the plant measurements and software models to fine tune the greenhouse conditions
technology can be transferred to high density population centers, therefore, reducing ‘food miles’ and thus, the overall carbon footprint.
can harvest solar power from excess sun radiation and convert to electricity.