‘The New Way of Irrigation’: the next step in The New Way of Growing’ (HNT – Dutch cultivation strategy)

Cultilene and Hoogendoorn organised successful webinar

‘The New Way of Growing’ has won a lot of ground in greenhouse horticulture in recent years. Its focus has been on realising energy savings combined with optimising production. Now it’s time for the next step: achieving a stable balance between irrigation and evaporation in order to ensure ideal conditions in the root zone. Cultilene and Hoogendoorn recently organised a well-attended webinar about this topic of ‘The New Way of Irrigation’.

Optimising plant balance: this is what ‘The New Way of Growing’ is all about. This cultivation concept involves three plant balances: the assimilates, energy and water balances. Its goal is to keep these three balances – which largely determine a plant’s growth processes – in equilibrium under all conditions. As far as water is concerned, Remy Maat indicates that there’s still a lot to be gained. He is product and application manager at Cultilene. ‘In the case of water balance, it’s about the hydric needs of the plant and what it gets offered; these factors have to be in balance. Until now, growers based their irrigation quantities mainly on the amount of outside light in combination with the amount of drain. Today, however, growers are making more use of diffuse glass and AR coatings. And, with the advance of The New Way of Growing, they are starting to screen more. As a result of these changes, solar and heat energy inside the greenhouse are not the same as those outside. This makes it important to adjust the number of irrigation applications in response to the indoor climate. Any assimilation lighting and heat generated by the greenhouse heating pipes will have to be factored in as well since they, too, have an impact on transpiration.’

‘The New Way of Irrigation’ provides various advantages. ‘The fact that the plant receives exactly the amount of water and nutrients it needs ensures optimum conditions in the root zone. Moisture levels, EC, pH, oxygen and temperature – ‘Cultilene’s Big Five’ – are more in balance, and this results in a healthy and effective root environment. In addition, this means that a grower can save a lot on water and nutrients and take major strides toward emission-free and sustainable production methods.

Ultimate goal

A webinar that Hoogendoorn Growth Management and Cultilene organised on 22 November delved more deeply into ‘The New Way of Irrigation’ and the importance of a proper water balance. This webinar was part of a series of webinars that Hoogendoorn is organising together with its partners. ‘These webinars address the three balances that determine the growth processes in a plant,’ says Maat. ‘Hoogendoorn approached us at Cultilene for the webinar about water balance. We have frequent contact with Hoogendoorn; they see Cultilene as an innovative partner in the field of Root Zone Management.’

The fact that growers want to know more about achieving a stable balance between irrigation and evaporation and optimising conditions in the root zone was demonstrated by the number of registrations for the webinar: more than 200 growers in 21 different countries took part. ‘This is a good indication that ‘The New Way of Irrigation’ is attracting a lot of attention! As a company, Cultilene will be strongly committing itself to this next step in ‘The Next Way of Growing’ concept. Emission-free production is our ultimate goal. But making food production more sustainable is another important goal, and also one of the highlights in Saint-Gobain’s mission statement. In short: to be continued!’

Want to learn more about ‘The New Way of Irrigation’? You can download the white paper here.

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