Getting optimal results involves cultivation techniques, the amount and quality of the compost, climate control settings and much more. And, of course, all these factors have to be coordinated and synchronised. But sometimes, increasing production is easier than you think. The key word here is efficiency.

By properly filling the beds from the beginning to the end, you can add quite some extra m2.
Taken on an annual basis, the result can be considerably higher production.
We don’t mean filling the beginning and ends of the bed by hand – a far better way to fill the beds well is to set the filler correctly. By setting the shortest possible setting for the net that pulls the compost into the room (10 cm) and switching off the filler just before the bed is full (5-10 cm) and no sooner, the entire bed will be automatically filled.

Calculation example
In illustration, we will take a farm where standard practice is to leave the first 25 cm at the beginning of the bed empty, and the last 25 cm of the bed at the end. Each room on this farm holds two shelves of six beds high. The inner width is 1.34 cm. There are 12 growing rooms on this farm, with a six-week cropping cycle. Production is 32 kg/m2.

What is the approximate production loss annually?

A) 7,000 kg
B) 15,000 kg
C) 25,000 kg

Your farm
Now do the sums for your own farm!
Discus how many more centimetres of bed surface can be filled with the filler operator. Let him calculate the extra production in kilos per year that could be harvested if these additional centimetres were filled. Working things out yourself is often better than giving instructions. Just telling someone to fill the beds nice and full will probably soon be forgotten and fade into the background again. Let people discover solutions themselves! People remember just 10% of what they are told, 20% of what they read, 50% of what they do, but 100% of things they discover themselves!

Mark den Ouden


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July 14 to August 7

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