"The demand for strawberry substrate cultivation solutions is growing in many Italian cultivation areas. However, the uncertain current situation is still holding back investments. We will soon start with the installation of about 7 hectares of substrate cultivation, most of it with two rows of gutters, in the central-southern regions, such as Basilicata, Calabria, Marche and Sardinia," said Rocco Carrera, production manager of Combimetal Carrera, a company specialized in the manufacture of steel structures, especially greenhouses.
Cultivation facility of Combimetal under construction
"We use gutters made of sheet steel with a thickness of 0.7 mm. They are treated with specific paints that resist the substances in crop protection products, rust and thermal transmission."
"The gutters, mounted on height-adjustable galvanized steel brackets (see photo), easily carry the weight of the substrate and crop. Thanks to a new transportable machine, we can profile directly in the field, so as to avoid joints and water stagnation. This is the best solution to realize gutters even of 40 meters, which are as long as a greenhouse. In addition, our system is equipped with central drains between the arches to prevent stagnant water or wet fruit."
"It is well known that substrate cultivation with only one row already offers many advantages: a cleaner cultivation site, higher yields, uniform plants and fruit, limited use of crop protection agents due to the greater control of pests and diseases, a much lower risk of damage to the fruit and greater ease in picking the strawberries."
Installation of three-row substrate cultivation of Combimetal Carrera
"Multiple rows about 50 cm apart make the results even more interesting. In a double-row planting on one hectare, a customer of ours has about 186,000 seedlings. The labor savings there are estimated at about 40% compared to a traditional structure. But anyone considering a third row should carefully study the sun exposure of the given site."