Asia: Consistent production for Thai growers
For almost 3,5 years now, a ‘Sercom’ irrigation computer manages the irrigation and fertigation of their 11 greenhouses with great success. «Based on the climate of the exact moment of the day, the computer manages everything», said production director Thomas Ruiter. He explained that the Sercom computer measures the radiation of the sun, humidity and temperature with a weather station. It also adapts the irrigation frequency and duration, based on their settings. «Besides that, the computer mixes 5 different fertiliser solutions with the irrigation water and controls the EC and pH levels.»
Usually this technology can be found in more developed horticultural countries like The Netherlands, Spain, Canada, Mexico or Turkey. The technology is very efficient, but not always affordable in developing areas. The Sercom unit however is created as an affordable alternative solution to more expensive technologies, without compromising on quality. Ruiter: «The system is designed in The Netherlands, and the heart and core technology is shipped from The Netherlands to us in. SERCOM ships the parts to us. We build the unit and computer ourselves from those parts, and combine that with other parts that are available on the local market, this makes the system affordable.»
“Every week we receive the yield calculations for each greenhouse. Every week we look forward to seeing the results of our Alma greenhouses” Thomas added. “We can’t wait to do the final calculation” Menno said. “But one thing we can already say” Thomas continues, “we are breaking all previous records for our own company, but I’m pretty sure we are breaking the record for the whole of Thailand as well!”.
“We are still in full production and most of the plants still look incredibly healthy in the ‘Alma’ greenhouse, compared to our conventional greenhouses”, said Menno Keppel. “Coming out of the most difficult growing season, the hot season, this is something we have never experienced, it’s hard to believe!”.
Better quality products
Since the growers of Take Me Home are using the Sercom units, they have achieved better quality products and higher yields. «In the past the irrigation was managed manually; now that they are supplying the plant with the necessary water and nutrition’s at the exact moment and in the exact quantities they are producing a better product, and most important; a very consistent production is created. «This was virtually not possible with manual irrigation», Ruiter added. «In the six months after implementing the irrigation system of SERCOM, we already counted a production increase of 25%. And since then we are also able to forecast productions better and be more consistent in our planning!»
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