13 Nov Tecnova is committed to high productivity agriculture to improve farmer profitability
The biggest problem that the Almería farmer has been facing for many years is the progressive loss of profitability of his farm. The area dedicated to tomato production has not stopped decreasing in Almería in recent years and is moving to Morocco. The argument that farmers repeat is that it does not pay to grow tomatoes here with what it costs and with what they pay later.
At Tecnova, we are very aware of this problem and at the time we carried out an analysis of what the causes were and what were the possible solutions. The prices are what they are and the farmer has no influence on them. Lowering the costs of the farm that the farmer already has has already reached its limit, without affecting the quality of the work carried out.
We came to the conclusion that the only viable way was to change the concept and bet on increasing productivity by increasing kg. per m2 which in turn reduces costs per m2. If we consider that prices are not going to vary and we get the costs per m2 to go down, the profit per m2 goes up. The tool to achieve this is to increase productivity per m2.
Once we reached this conclusion, we studied what was being done in other parts of the world and realized that we had not discovered gunpowder. The path that we propose is the one that is already being done in almost all the countries of the world, both countries with cold climates such as Holland, France, Belgium, Canada, Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan etc. as in temperate countries like Mexico, Turkey, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Qatar, etc.
The way to achieve this objective is to bet on technology by developing a greenhouse that allows us to control the climate in such a way that the plant does not stop because it is cold outside or accelerate because we have unusual days with a lot of heat. We are the ones who regulate the climate inside the greenhouse every hour and every day regardless of the outside temperature. This has another very important side effect, we know when the fruit is going to ripen and week by week we know how much we are going to collect so that with a view to marketing it can be planned.
At Tecnova, we are also very aware that technology is necessary but not sufficient. Crop management is different than a “raspa y amagado” and we needed to develop our own crop management methodology. To do this, we saw the need to complement the knowledge of our technicians with highly productive global experts.
All of this has led Tecnova to consider specializing in high-productivity agriculture for hot climates and, for this, it has launched a project to increase production per m2 in Almería using advanced technology and methods but at a price that can be assumed. by the farmer and that can be profitable in a prudent period of time.
The Tecnova Technological Center works to offer answers and solutions to the needs of the agro-industrial sector, and this project offers a new vision and reality about this mode of production that can lead to a change in trend in the province in terms of what was to come. doing so far, with the ultimate goal of recovering the profitability of the farmer’s farm.
The Agroindustry joins efforts to make a High Productivity model a reality in Almería
To carry out the design of the high productivity model, a group of companies representing each of the agroindustry subsectors participated. From the beginning, they have been participating in the definition of the model, in the structural elements that should be included without forgetting the optimization in costs, allowing the model to be developed by any farmer since the aim is to define a model that allows increasing the profitability of the exploitation, through increased production and reduced costs.
For the design and calculation of the greenhouse structure, the companies Novagric and Tecnoponiente have participated, to define the active and passive elements of climate control, Alarcontrol, Ridder and Sistemas de Calor have been used, and in irrigation and auxiliary elements (Himarcan, Ritec and Maher), all have been part of the development of a future production model in the province.
Thanks to the contributions of the companies and the experience of all of them, it has been possible to define a profitable cultivation model, which facilitates the cultural work of the workers by optimizing the number of wages, guarantees the obtaining of more homogeneous and higher quality fruits, energy consumption is optimized as well as the contribution of inputs.
The team made up of the technicians from the greenhouse technology and plant production department, led by engineer Eduardo Pardo, and the participating Tecnova companies have made it possible to define and build the greenhouse that is serving as a prototype to take home within a year carry out the demonstrative tests.
Last Tuesday the official inauguration of the project took place to publicize the results of the first test, where all the companies participating in the design, conceptualization and construction were invited.
Tecnova achieves average annual production in 6 months
The characteristics of the greenhouse, together with a new crop management model provided by a specialist technician hired for this, make this production model a reference for the production of fruits and vegetables. It is a greenhouse that has integrated new trends in greenhouse technology such as greater height under the channel, suspended hydroponic system and evaporative heat and cooling systems. In addition, a new distribution and air conditioning system for the greenhouse has been designed, using an innovative system of air sleeves through which cold or warm air flows, depending on the needs.
The production levels generated in the High Productivity greenhouse will be a reference and a great starting point for future production campaigns in the province. Tecnova in this first tomato trial has exceeded, in just six months, the average annual production of the greenhouses of Almería, which shows that the applied technologies and management can reach a new production threshold never before seen in the province. For this reason, Tecnova is betting on new training in crop management based on climate management and strategies that allow the plant to be controlled according to production needs.
In the trial, two tomato varieties have been tested, a commercial variety established in Spain and another variety, also commercial, from Holland, where they have obtained, respectively, 19 and 25 kg m2 in a 6-month cycle without using CO2. This shows two things, on the one hand, the influence of genetics on production and, on the other, the potential that can be obtained in this region with the climate we have, which allows for greater production. That is why Tecnova is betting on a new way of understanding agriculture based on the physiological knowledge of the plant as well as the experience of the technicians in charge of cultivation.
All this is making a very robust binomial that has led to the start of a second project that has been launched this season and whose objective is to develop a long cycle to obtain a minimum of 50kg / m2 with a settled commercial tomato variety in Spain. It is important to highlight the uniqueness of this production system that differs from other high-productivity systems in northern Europe, such as the Dutch system, in using technologies based on refrigeration and in boosting production in situations of heat and low humidity. To give an example, in the middle of summer we manage to lower the temperature inside the greenhouse by 10 ºC compared to the outside. Methods adapted to the conditions that can be found in the south-east of Spain, as well as in other regions of the world where the winter production model is being implemented.
Parallel to the measurement of the kg / m2 obtained, an exhaustive monitoring of all the costs incurred is carried out so that, at the end of the campaign, to know exactly the profitability obtained, which are the most significant costs and to see if there is room for maneuver in some of the them to adjust them.
We believe that it is a new path that we have embarked on based on a different concept of doing things, which on the other hand is the one commonly used throughout the world.
Almería cannot be left behind. The way of doing things used until now has been showing signs of exhaustion for a long time. We need to approach the same problems with different optics to find different solutions that allow us to continue moving forward. Tecnova wants to spearhead this new approach and contribute with all its means to preserve the profitability of our farmers who, let’s not forget, are the ones who feed us all with their economic activity. Without the farmers, Almería would not be what it is and we must put all our intelligence and all our means to help them.