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Growing berries in retractable roof greenhouses and cooling houses

After spending 4 years at Driscolls Mexico in the role of technical support for disease and insect control in tunnels, Ing. Luis Gaxiola joined Cravo in January 2017 to provide technical support to berry growers using Cravo retractable roofs. For the last 7 months, Luis has spent time at Cravo’s demonstration and training greenhouse in Culiacan Mexico and visiting berry growers in Europe, Canada and Mexico learning about how berry production systems can change when upgrading from a conventional tunnel to a retractable roof.

Luis Gaxiola discussing changes to irrigation strategy inside the retractable house.

Carlos Ruiz and Luis Gaxiola providing training on the retractable roof computer control system to new users of a retractable roof cooling house.
On August 11, at the Aneberries Conference in Guadalajara Mexico, Luis presented his key findings about how berry production could evolve from tunnels when one optimizes the climate using an automated retractable greenhouse roof or cooling roof.
Growers in tunnels typically:
  • focus on the management of irrigation, nutrition, disease and insects
  • do not really understand the full impact of the stationary plastic covering on plant and fruit development, disease or insects

Variety Murano in a tunnel

Variety Murano in an automated retractable roof

Compared to growing in tunnels, when one is able to optimize the growing environment using an automated retractable roof:
  • It is easier to extend the harvest season
  • Yield per plant, fruit quality and shelf life can be increased
  • The color of the container can be changed to optimize root temperatures to maximize yield during the difficult months
  • Plant density can be increased to help increase kg/m²
  • A low pressure misting system can be an effective tool inside the retractable roof when growing in hot climates
  • A retractable cooling roof is more suitable for hot climates and a retractable greenhouse roof is preferable in the colder climates
  • Pollination problems that occur in tunnels can be reduced
  • New strategies exist to naturally reduce pressure from spotted wing drosophila, thrips and whitefly
  • Disease pressure is naturally reduced helping to reduce spray frequency
  • It is more important to manage plant temperature than air temperature.
  • It is easier to manipulate fruit development by controlling light levels, wind and relative humidity

For more information 
Cravo Equipment Ltd.
Luis Gaxiola

Publication date: 8/17/2017


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