Following the award to L J Betts for UK Grower of the Year 2015 (and UK Edibles Grower of the Year – Vegetables, Gold award), Stephen Betts commented to Contronics Dry Misting, that his decision to install a Dry Misting Hydration System into his new 1,000 m³ cold stores was instrumental in achieving the increased yield and the excellent quality required to win this award.
High humidity storage atmosphere with ultra-fine Dry Misting
One obstacle to growth had been the need for a new and larger cold storage facility, which was overcome with the aid of a grant from The Rural Development Programme for England. The grant enabled the business to look forward to further improvements in quality and yield. This was done with the introduction of glycol refrigeration technology which allowed product to be stored at 0.5 – 1°C and in a high humidity atmosphere filled with an ultra-fine, (1-2 micron droplet) Dry Misting.
Stephen Betts commented: “Having the Dry Misting system gave us great confidence in our ability to harvest when the product and weather conditions were at their best. It did not take us long to see that ‘Good crops in’ equates to Good produce out’ with Dry Misting.”
Reducing harvest costs and labour
Harvesting when the product is ready, and not when orders demand is referred to by Contronics Dry Misting as ‘Strategic Cropping’. This brings with it other advantages such as the opportunity to avoid expensive weekend, early morning or evening harvesting, significantly reducing cost and overcoming issues with staff availability.
“The ability to harvest each field when the product is at its best is a great advantage and not having to harvest when the field and product is wet, reduces wastage and the need to dry the product. Also avoiding the extremes of hot weather reduces cooling costs and the need to resort to vacuum cooling, furthering de-hydration.”
Less waste, more yield, quality and financial return
Waste through dehydration is all but eliminated and enables Contronics Dry Misting customers to deliver consistent high quality and all round better product from stabilized stock rather than being rushed off the field to meet demand.
The Dry Misting system allows harvested produce to naturally hydrate, extending the life of tender leaf from 1-2 days after harvest (with standard DX cooling) to 4-7 days using DX combined with Dry Misting. The result is similar for salad and brassica, with life being extended from 10 days up to 21 days.
Dry Misting technology – and the Strategic Cropping that it enables – smoothens the peaks and troughs of a turbulent and ever-changing season, maximizing yield, quality and as a result, financial return.