ReduFuse and strawberries
Arno Loos, Kwekerij Loos
“ReduFuse makes it possible to produce summer strawberries in the greenhouse”
Kwekerij Loos, is a front-runner when it comes to the sustainable year-round production of strawberries. The nursery has three hectares of greenhouses that are heated with waste heat. Last year, for the first time, it achieved a summer crop under glass. This was made possible by having the diffuse coating, ReduFuse, on the roof. “The mild climate is pleasant for the plants,” says Arno Loos.
The nursery belonging to Arno and Sandra Loos of Moerstraten, the Netherlands, grows a unique combination of crops. As well as 3 hectare of strawberries (2.1 ha with artificial lighting, 0.9 ha without) the growers have 6 ha of heated asparagus. Everything is aimed at conserving energy and producing in the most optimal way. The nursery is also a joint owner of a bio-gas plant, that supplies heat to the greenhouses and the asparagus and electricity for the assimilation lighting.
Last year Loos decided to grow a new everbearing strawberry variety, Triumph, in order to make better use of the greenhouse. “Usually the greenhouse was empty from the beginning of June to mid August. That, of course, is a pity. It’s usually too warm in the greenhouse during the summer for strawberries, resulting in small fruits and far too little yield. By using ReduFuse we felt we could try a summer crop,” he says.
In April a contractor sprayed a standard application of ReduFuse onto the roof. For the summer crop of Triumph, Loos planted seven strawberry plants per m2, a little less than usual. Loos: “The haze was about 70% and you noticed that immediately when you entered the greenhouse. Thanks to the diffuse light there were no more shadows. It’s also somewhat cooler. It is a pleasant climate so the plants have it a bit easier at the start of the day; there’s less stress and transpiration. Rooting also went well. We could keep the windows closed for a reasonably long time, which meant we lost less CO2. That is of course beneficial for us, because we buy in liquid CO2, as well as for the environment.”
“Triumph is a new variety for us and we didn’t have any experience with a summer cop in the greenhouse so we didn’t have anything to compare it with. We didn’t implement any specific climate control measures and I’m very pleased with how it’s gone. Triumph grows easily and the crop remained well balanced under ReduFuse. We didn’t have any problems with mildew. The fruits were a good size and we could pick every three to four days.”
“We will certainly continue to use ReduFuse on the greenhouse in which we grow Triumph,” concludes Loos. “After that we will optimise production further. Mardenkro is giving us some guidance. This year for example, they will help us carry out leaf temperature measurements so that we cam learn more about the effects of diffuse light.”
“We haven’t decided yet whether or not we will apply ReduFuse to the other greenhouses. I can also see it having benefits because in August it can be very warm. But it’s just for a short period if you remove it again in September. In any case, I’m convinced that the young plants benefit from diffuse light.”