AHDB News June 2016

Energy News for the horticultural industry June 2016 Energy News | June 2016 Focus on Next Generation Growing Next Generation Growing (NGG), or ‘Het Nieuwe Telen’ as it’s known in the Netherlands, is a Dutch initiative set to meet ambitious energy savings in the greenhouse sector by 2020. UK interest in this idea is clearly high, as we face the same challenges in becoming more efficient. This newsletter covers some of the concepts and reports presented at two AHDB Horticulture GrowSave seminars, held in South Cave and Harlow on April 20 th and 21 st . In a nutshell, NGG strives to grow a better crop with less energy. It’s mainly centred around closer control of temperature and humidity, based on what the crop really needs. It seems to be working because Dutch growers using NGG methods are reporting energy savings of 25%, without significant investment. NGG growers subject their crop to higher temperatures and humidity, something that they find goes against everything they have practised for years. The successful implementation of the techniques relies on achieving good plant ‘balance’. This is done by making sure that climate, transpiration, the availability of water and the movement of assimilates within the plant are all optimised. NGG has taken a long time to reach commercial acceptability in the Netherlands, with several false starts along the way, including the closed greenhouse concept, which proved to “It’s a matter of knowledge and application rather than technology or investment” - Jan Voogt, LetsGrow.com Grower reaction Lea Valley pepper grower, John Cappalonga, travelled a long way to hear about NGG. Although the Harlow event was held just a few minutes away from his nursery, the date clashed with another important appointment he had to attend. So, he made the 7 hour round trip to attend the Yorkshire venue instead. “This topic is so important that I changed my schedule to attend. Having heard what the experts said, I’ll be implementing NGG in one block right away.” - John Cappalonga, Gee Vee Enterprises be prohibitively expensive and failed to reduce energy usage. However, industry acceptance is changing fast and now 25% of the Dutch industry is using the NGG method, a trend that seems set to continue. One main reason for its success is that it has delivered benefits without huge investment in the latest hardware or software. Savings have been achieved simply by giving the plant the environment that it needs but with much reduced energy input. The four NGG speakers Left to right: René Beerkens, Peter Kamp, Paul Arkesteijn and Jan Voogt