Paul Selina (VP Applied Research, Village Farms, Texas, USA)

We’ve been using ProDrain since 2007. First at our GATES™ greenhouse and now all our Texas facilities will be equipped with at least one ProDrain system. The information that ProDrain provides us is priceless: we can use it for irrigation management, stress detection, growth monitoring, and production planning. It is key to our GATES concept, and without it we wouldn’t have been able to go to the edge of what is possible with the plants and learn about their capabilities in high radiation climate.

After HortiMaX introduced the ‘ProDrain irrigation start’ for the MultiMa in 2009, we used it to trigger irrigation at our Gates™ facility, consistently maintaining moisture content  and undersaturation in the desired ranges at different times of the day.

Over the years, we’ve learned a tremendous amount from the ProDrain readings. The system shows us the transpiration rate in relation to radiation, humity, and temperature. At our facilities in Texas, radiation levels can exceed 1,000W/m2 for long periods, resulting in high plant transpiration. If conditions become too extreme and the plants’ stomata close, we see the impact as a reduced (or even negative) growth rate. ProDrain allows us to anticipate and prevent these ‘stress situations’.

We will adjust the pad and fan or fogging system setpoints, or close the shade screens based on our observations of previous days. Since we know how far we can go, we can plan ahead and minimize any potential problems. But that is not all. ProDrain’s plant measurements also enable us monitor both the absolute plant weight, and the cumulative fresh weight increase, from day to day. We can compare these measurements with previous seasons and age of plant. Based on this information, we can anticipate production, without having to count or measure the fruit manually.

Upcoming events

2018

SIVAL 
16-18 January
Angers, France

IPM Essen
23-26 January
Essen, Germany

Fruit Logistica
7-9 February
Berlin, Germany

HortiContact
20-22 February
Gorinchem, The Netherlands

GreenTech
12-14 juni
Amsterdam RAI, The Netherlands