Structures & Equipment
Toyohashi project using high-tech to boost yields
By Dave Harrison
Aug. 10, 2015, Toyohashi, Japan — Nowadays it is not a surprise to get a tomato production of 50kg/m2 in a high-tech greenhouse; however it was a remarkable record in Japan.
Japan is still under development stage in high-tech greenhouse horticulture technology. Especially with traditional Japanese beef tomato known as pink tomato, a production level of 50kg/m2 was never reached in practice or research. Japanese tomato breeders focus on taste, which is preferred by local consumers.
However, Japanese tomato varieties often have less production levels compared to European ones.
Harsh summer climate in Japan also makes it very tough to grow tomato through the summer.
Summer starts from rainy weeks in June to July and suddenly brings hot and humid environment, which is quite hard for tomato plants to maintain good condition. Due to the high humidity climate it is not easy to bring air temperature down in the greenhouse.
Average tomato production in Japan is around 20-25kg/m2. Recently, more and more motivated growers are learning from the advanced Dutch technology and are investing in hydroponics systems, climate control systems, fogging systems, CO2 dosing, etc., to improve production level.
MAJOR RESEARCH PROJECT
The Innovative GreenHouse (IGH) in Toyohashi city is a practical research project initiated in 2012 led by Science Create Corporation, local government, university and private companies participating to achieve a goal of tomato production of 50kg/m2 in high-tech greenhouse.
Ishiguro Nozai, a part of Inochio Holdings Inc., is one of the core member companies that does daily crop work and conduct research in the greenhouse.
The IGH project is equipped with modern technologies to overcome these challenges and achieve high production with low energy input per kilo tomato. It is a 1.000m2 semi-closed greenhouse without roof vents, which allows maximum sunlight into the greenhouse.
To overcome the hot summer, the greenhouse has internal and outer screens, pad and fan cooling and heat pump cooling system.
MISTING FOR HUMIDITY CONTROL
For humidity control, it is equipped with misting system. To save energy in winter, double layered (diffuse) ETFE plastic is covered and heat pump heating helps to reduce the use of oil. In the climate room, air is mixed to desired condition and distributed to the greenhouse from air tube under the gutter.
Advanced Dutch technology helps to achieve this goal. Worldwide automation supplier Hoogendoorn makes it possible to control the aforementioned sophisticated systems efficiently with their reliable, flexible and user-friendly iSii process computer.
On top of standard climate sensors, PAR sensors, plant temperature sensors and Aquabalance (grow scale with drain measurement) of Hoogendoorn were installed to get better understanding of what is happening at plant level.
Other Dutch companies such as Van der Knaap for Forteco coco slabs and Van Iperen for high quality fertilizers support the project too.
OFF TO A GOOD START
In the first crop year, the project team with almost no experience of growing tomato faced many challenges and resulted with a sellable production of 41.49kg/m2.
The team had frequent discussions with the research members, consultants and growers to improve the production. In the second year, the team achieved the initial goal with a production of 50.6kg/m2.
This achievement became remarkable news and introduced by newspapers and TV news. For the third year, tomato plants were planted in December 2014 and the team is working hard to get higher result.
Ishiguro Group is a leading total horticultural supplier in Japan providing a wide range of products and services; greenhouses, technical installation, crop protection products and plant materials including own bred chrysanthemum varieties.
Ishiguro Nozai is a Hoogendoorn partner in Japan since 2010.
Hoogendoorn was introduced to Japanese market not so long ago, however Ishiguro already installed numerous Hoogendoorn climate computers from South to North of Japan and they are working on several large scale projects this year.
ABOUT HOOGENDOORN GROWTH MANAGEMENT
Hoogendoorn Growth Management is worldwide innovator in horticultural automation. With an office in China, Hoogendoorn is able to provide local maintenance service, technical support and training in the Asian market. Recommendations and solutions in the field of automation, can be fully aligned with customer’s requirements. By providing user-friendly software in i.e. the Japanese language, customers are enabled to use the functionalities optimally to achieve higher production. Together with partner Ishiguro Nozai, Hoogendoorn’s aim is to contribute to a more innovative and sustainable development of greenhouse horticulture in Japan.