It’s taken this long but the trial stages are finally here. In 2017, automatic retractable greenhouses roofs are being tested in the raspberry industry. Adelita raspberries were placed under the trial roof at a facility near Ciudad Guzman in Jalisco, Mexico. This is a first of a kind for the Mexican growing industry who has, in the past decade, drastically increased the use of technology in their horticulture growing sector. By utilising the retractable feature, they’re able to minimalise their ecological footprint and lower their total operational costs.
During the trial two tests were executed. The first raspberry’s, the control group in a tunnel, were planted on the 15th of May 2017 and their counterparts under the retractable roof were planted 5 weeks later on the 20th of June 2017.
Notably, the raspberries are planted under the same roof as that of the blueberries and are therefore receiving the same irrigation and nutrition. In addition, they’re also exposed to the exact same growing conditions and environment suitable for blueberry production. What is remarkable about the retractable roof is that it is water porous meaning that rain water can seep through naturally watering the plants and the berries receive natural pollination from native bees. As per regulations and safety protocols, the raspberries in the (non-retractable) tunnel receive irrigation and nutrition as per standard protocols for this growing method.
What is surprising is that although the climate and the roof are not tailored to the growing methods of raspberries, the raspberries under the retractable roof:
- Are current producing between 50-100% more primocanes
- Have an increased development of fruiting laterals
- Are less susceptible to insects and therefore no problems due to spotted mites or spotted wing drosophila
- Are not suffering from rust problems despite allowing rain from the summer to penetrate the canopy
Although there are some promising results from the trial, it will continue throughout the season to ensure the data and the facts are truly aligned. This time next year, this could be the hottest product on the market and you might even see it at GreenTech 2018!
A big thank you goes out to Cravo for posting their information video online. For more info on Cravo click the link here