Vent malfunction causes crop loss
Every grower’s nightmare has come true for a local grower. A malfunction with the vents has meant a tomato crop, which was still three weeks from picking, has been fried. I am unsure how long the vents were closed, before they were fixed and reopened, but as you can see from the picture the damage caused was devastating. The crop has literally been cooked.
Even if you have an alarm system, unless you are close by, even a short period with such intense temperature can cause irreparable damage to your crop. If it is a power outage then having a generator is going to avoid this situation but a blown fuse, on a circuit board or something more serious, is a different kettle of fish. Particularly if you are not able to isolate the problem quickly and if you are not on site during the day. If the outage occurs on a public holiday it could be difficult to get your sparky on site quickly.
Many years ago, I was in a similar predicament- we had lost power, it was in the middle of the summer, and early one morning. The vents were down, as it was a cool morning, but I knew it would heat up very quickly, and by the time I could get a generator on site for my sparky to hook up I knew the temperature of the greenhouse would detrimentally affect the crop. Luckily we had a socket set handy and Dad could climb up to the vent motors and manually open the vents. From memory it took around 15 minutes to get one of the vents open manually, but it was very handy to know when all else failed we could physically open the vents. However, the outcome could very easily have been the same as the picture below.
Half of the house was cucumbers and they were also devasted.
If it was a blown fuse and no one was on site to replace it, for several hours, your crop would be in serious trouble. It places the importance of being on site at all times during the day, or having someone regularly pop in to check. Please ensure you have all the tools required handy and know the process to manually open your vents. If you don’t know how to do this please contact your greenhouse manufacturer to find out how this can be done. An event like this is a disaster and I never wish this upon any grower to have this type of catastrophe but if this article will help prevent another grower from this situation then it is definitely worth writing.
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Article Written by Stefan Vogrincic, Consultant, Grower2Grower