Dyson Farming has picked the first strawberries from its new 15-acre glasshouse in Carrington, Lincolnshire. The 424m long glasshouse is powered with renewable electricity and surplus heat from Dyson Farming’s adjacent anaerobic digester. Currently 6 hectares of strawberries are planted.
The Spring season runs from March to May followed by the Summer second flush from June/July and lastly the Autumn crop runs from October to December.
“The first picking was on 22nd March and everything is running to schedule so far,” said Stuart Thomson, head of Marketing at Dyson Farming.
“The weather has been cold but sunny. The sun radiation helped with keeping high temps in the glasshouse. We’ve been utilising heat produced by the Anaerobic Digester on site ( 3MW/hr) to keep good temps during critical periods (early mornings and dull days). The crop is grown in raised gutters with 100% coir substrate. Climate control computer tracks and alters irrigation, humidity, temperature, ventilation, heating, CO2 dosage. We support the advancement of high-tech, sustainable farming in the UK, and by extending the UK season avoid the unnecessary food miles that come from imported strawberries at this time of year.”
The company expects to harvest 330 tonnes in the Spring, 150 tonnes in Summer and 270 tonnes in the Autumn season.
“The 6ha of glass built last year was Phase1 of the Dyson glasshouse project. We have secured planning permission to expand the site and increase the glasshouse area and we will continue to invest at the site.”
Dyson Farming supplies mainly retailers but also some local shops and farmers markets. Demand is currently strong for British fruit as tunnel crops are delayed this year due to cold weather.
Growing quality strawberries at scale, in a sustainable way, out of season, draws on the expertise and experience of the Dyson Farming team. For Dyson Farming this is the next step in producing quality British produce, at a commercial scale, by harnessing sustainable farming practices and technological innovation.
A climate control computer system adjusts the temperature in the glasshouse to maintain the optimal growing conditions for quality crops. Rainwater is harvested from the glasshouse roof, stored in a lagoon and used to irrigate the plants. The hanging gutters, which hold the plants, ‘swing’ from side to side to allow 15% extra crop to be grown in the same area.
The site also has packhouse and cold store facilities allowing Dyson Farming to pick, chill, pack and deliver fresh fruit to the end customer as quickly as possible.
The glasshouse will incorporate new technologies as they evolve such as advanced robotic picking and advanced LED lighting that could increase glasshouse efficiency and lengthen the season further.
For more information:
Tel: +44 1526 322058