14 Feb 2018

Rijk Zwaan joins the third ModulAIR Forum with Van der Hoeven

Addressing the breeding needs of an evolving industry was the topic presented by Rijk Zwaan’s High Tech Sales Representative, Phill Ritchie, at a forum for ModulAIR technology in South Australia.

Hosted by Dutch greenhouse building company Van der Hoeven, the ModulAIR Platform (23 – 25 January) brought together Australian and international growers with an investment or interest in the company’s semi-closed ModulAIR glasshouse. The meeting provided a platform for growers from across the globe to talk about their crops, growing techniques and use of the ModulAIR glasshouse.

Van der Hoeven’s R&D Manager, Vincent Kickert, addressed questions relating to the ModulAIR system whilst presenting new technology associated with the ModulAIR glasshouse.

Phill explained the benefits of the new technology: “The major drive for the ModulAIR glasshouse is to maintain a stable glasshouse climate whilst being able to maintain a consistent high CO2 level which is associated with running the glasshouse under positive pressure which also helps to minimise the impact of insects on crops grown with this technology.”

“The ModulAIR glasshouse has a cooling capacity which is very suited to a hot dry climate whilst the incorporation of dehumidification into the glasshouse also makes it suitable for locations with a more humid climate.”

Australian companies are already adopting this technology. The forum was held at Sundrop Farms in Port Augusta, where a 20-hectare ModulAIR glasshouse is in operation producing more than 15,000 tonnes of tomatoes a year.

Phill was asked to speak about Rijk Zwaan varieties that suit the ModulAIR glasshouse. He led an interactive discussion about the type of plant ideally required in the glasshouse with reference to some Rijk Zwaan varieties currently having success in these systems.  

Phill said it was a privilege to participate in the meeting and bringing together key players within the industry is a pioneering move by Van der Hoeven.

“Working with companies from Holland, Japan, Canada, the UK, Greece and France, and being exposed to grower groups in those climates using the ModulAIR glasshouse gives me a really thorough picture of what is happening in the industry and what we’re dealing with in terms of climate control,” Phil said.

“The industry is slowly becoming more open and there is a little more sharing of information. Bringing companies from different countries together to compare notes and refine their own practices is a smart way to do business. This will certainly have a pull on future sales,

“Van der Hoeven, via Marc Middeldorp (Manager Design and Engineering) and Vincent Kickert, did an excellent job coordinating the meeting. They were very transparent, informative and addressed all enquiries of the ModulAIR glasshouse.”

Rijk Zwaan representative Phill Ritchie shares his thoughts on the breeding needs of an evolving industry at the ModulAIR Forum.