Grodan's GroSens and e-Gro support capsicum grower with consultancy practice
Dutch Grower Antoni de Bruin from Klazienaveen makes remarkable choices. For example, he combines the cultivation of six hectares of green capsicums (partly lighted) at two locations with a consultancy practice. Also special is his preference for the Grodan GT Master substrate slab. Thanks to the GroSens Multisensor system and the handy e-Gro app, he can follow his cultivations anytime and anywhere and make adjustments if so required.
As an opinionated entrepreneur, Antoni de Bruin does not hesitate to deviate from the beaten track. It has given him a lot of knowledge and experience, which also benefits his colleagues. On a part-time basis, he advises a number of fruit vegetable growers in the border region, with the emphasis on irrigation and fertilization.
"The combination of cultivation and advising is fun and keeps me on my toes", he explains. "And thanks to the advancing technology and the internet, I do not necessarily have to be present at the company to keep an eye on the cultivation factors. Nowadays you can log on with the computer remotely and change settings if necessary."
Last year the grower doubled his acreage of green peppers to six hectares by adding a nearby former rose business to this company. The cultivation system is partly geared to this: eight gutters (4x2) per 8 m roof span compared to six gutters (V-system) per 8 m roof width on his first company. Thanks to the already installed and largely depreciated lighting installation, he can bring forward and increase production here for limited additional costs. "I start the lighted cultivation slightly earlier than the unlighted cultivation, but I do this with smaller plants. Thanks to the growth light, they root faster and there is a larger root package in the slab before the setting. The plants also have just a bit more strength. The first two harvests produce 4 kg more and I am earlier in the market than most other sweet pepper growers."
The man from Drenthe in Holland, has been working with the GroSens Multisensor system for 3 years and has had good experiences with it. "I have three sections with different plant data and use three sensors in each section. Additionally, I also have a GroSens HandHeld meter, which I mainly use for sampling in places where it is sometimes slightly wetter or drier than average. Combined with the drainage measuring I can follow in detail the course of water content (WC) and EC in the slabs. To keep a pepper crop well in balance and to maximize the performance, you have to make optimum use of the possibilities. That is now easier and better than before. The e-Gro app has made it even easier. As long as you have an internet connection, you can follow everything perfectly."
High slab better controllable:
Also three years ago - perhaps inspired by his frequent contact with tomato growers - De Bruin switched over from the GT Expert to the GT Master Dry stone wool slab. A year later he took the step to the GT Master 10 cm high, which he still likes very much. "I believe that a high, better controllable slab offers added value, also for peppers," explains Antoni. "The recent launch of the Grodan Supreme pepper slab confirms this too. I found the Dry just a little too dry in the second half of the cultivation. This is my second year with the GT Master and I really like it." Thanks to the wide control range and the speedy re-saturation I can manage the root environment well and keep the crop nicely in balance."
The grower from Klazienaveen follows a strict irrigation regime. After the slab has been reduced by 9-11%, in the evening and night, he fills the WC in three large turns of 4% each time and lets the slab drain at noon. "After these regular sessions I give water based on WC and light level", he continues. "The stopping time is between 2:30 and 5:30 in the afternoon. For me this depends on the expected time period required for the slab to reduce by 9 to 11% again, until the next morning at 10 a.m. It is mainly thanks to GroSens that I can now even better align the starting and stopping times to the need of the crop. In the long run it keeps the plants more vital, better in balance and therefore more productive."
Thanks to GroSens and e-Gro De Bruin always has an overview of the root environment and he can combine the pepper cultivation well with his consultancy practice.
Antoni de Bruin: "It is mainly thanks to GroSens that I can now better align the starting and stopping times that the crop needs."
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