Greenhouse Technology, the Future is Already Here

If food security and economic value is the question – greenhouse technology is the answer
August 9, 2020

Today, smart systems are enabling greenhouses to grow crops faster, more efficiently, more sustainably and in almost every external condition. Netafim has extensive experience delivering highly specialized, state-of-the-art greenhouse turnkey projects in countries all over the world, leveraging its agronomical knowledge, project capabilities and global presence.


Soilless tomatoes cultivation using hanging gutters


“There is a vast array of systems that need to work together within your greenhouse, from climate control, heating and cooling, screens and growing systems, to irrigation and fertigation. Designing and integrating these systems can be extremely complex”, says Ofer Inbar, Netafim’s Greenhouse Business Director.
“In the preliminary feasibility phase, we identify which systems will best suit your project, based on crop, climate, location, available energy sources and market conditions. We then carefully create the logistic execution plan, taking into consideration all the different suppliers and components within the project scope, and putting together a detailed timeline. Then we install your systems and get them up and running before handing them over to your team. This is a crucial part of the success of your project. It is a big investment, and the right systems will ensure optimal growing conditions, high yields, and the best possible return from day one.”


Advanced irrigation room with UV water recycle system



From soil to soilless
As the soilless cultivation trend expands, the need for controlled precision irrigation and fertigation is highlighted. Having no soil buffer, the soilless substrate needs careful dosing of nutrients, effective and frequent drainage, and a low flow supply of water. This will ensure consistently high yields and high-quality crops.
Since pioneering drip irrigation in 1965, Netafim has been the global precision irrigation leader. Today, we offer reliable and flexible irrigation systems for greenhouses that deliver water and nutrients according to a plant's specific needs. It’s one of our unique strengths. In fact, over 60% of high-end greenhouses all over the world are installed with Netafim trademark PCJ-CNL drippers.



Drain & EC On-Line measurement



Saving water and preventing land contamination
A modern greenhouse is highly sustainable and advanced in terms of its water usage.
In greenhouses, we constantly recycle about 20-30% of the water used for irrigation, disinfect it and then mix it with fresh water from an external source. This reduces water use but also fertilizer use – as the recycled water retains nutrients from one cycle to the next.

Drain water is recaptured and disinfected by a UV treatment. These solutions are simple to apply once installed and require very little maintenance. Reusing the drain water prevents land and water contamination, as fertilizers are not released into the ground and groundwater.
Examining and analyzing drain water content is vital in optimizing the irrigation program and nutrient composition and ensuring optimal crop development.
“We see a successful Greenhouse project as a microcosmos that creates life, shelters it and does so in the most resource-effective way possible,” says Ofer Inbar.
In Azerbaijan, we helped a leading water conveyance equipment manufacturer make a smooth entry into the agriculture industry. We achieved 40% savings in water and fertilizer by designing an ultra-efficient irrigation system with a UV water recycling system, and implementing a smart inter-planting system to enable cost-effective year-round production.


Cutting edge boiler room with CO2 enrichment system   


Greenhouses are energy-intensive, and that energy can be expensive. In certain climates, this can have a remarkable impact on the profitability of your greenhouse.
So, one of the key factors in your greenhouse projects is finding the most secure, sustainable and energy-efficient heating solution that will deliver ideal growing conditions.
“We helped one of the largest supermarket chains in Croatia grow tomatoes all year round, using solar power and biogas from the neighbouring dairy farm to heat up the greenhouse and create a model for ecologically-advanced and secure production,” recalls Ofer Inbar.


Spreading the heat
Heat is most often produced by installing burners, boilers and condensers. Careful design and a professional piping plan, known as the Tichelmann system, allows even heat distribution in the greenhouse and minimizes overall energy production costs.


Maximizing your CO2

Crop yields increase when there is a higher concentration of CO2 in the air – up to c.800ppm. By using special burners with a low NOX level, combustion gases with a high CO2 concentration can be rerouted back into your greenhouse through a PVC distribution network and then to the plants via micro-perforated sleeves.  Throughout the process, we carefully monitor the CO level in order to make sure toxic gases will not penetrate the greenhouse.


Maximizing your heat
In contrast, you may experience times when you need to burn gas to deliver CO2  during parts of the day when you don’t need the heat. To make sure this heat isn’t wasted, modern heating systems include hot water storage tanks that are used to store energy and then deliver heat to your greenhouse at night.


Nursery with Pad and Fan, Ebb and flood irrigation


Huge steps forward have been made in greenhouse automation. More and more systems will be fully automated to monitor and control your climate, water and energy outputs, ensuring reliable and accurate management of all resources. The controller in the greenhouse will help modify your different systems and help you supervise it all from the palm of your hand, even when you're not on site.

Today more than ever, the demand for fresh, healthy and safe food, and the need to secure our food supply and self-sufficiency, is vital. Greenhouses, unlike outdoor farms in most locations, can produce a constant supply of local food year-round, making them an ideal way to meet local food market demands and overcome future challenges involving global food security.

If food security and economic value is the question – greenhouse technology is the answer – speeding up and improving the quality, yield and availability of fresh local food. Netafim is determined to keep leading in innovation and technology, supporting its customer's efforts in creating successful greenhouse turnkey projects, while maintaining a sustainable environment.

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