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Haygrove’s climate-controlled automated polytunnel venting solutions

Haygrove is South Africa’s leading manufacturer of field-scale polytunnel and shade net structures and has been operating in South Africa since 2001. Haygrove was originally established in the UK in 1987 and is actively protecting crops in 57 countries worldwide. 

Due to the specific needs of local growers and a challenging climate, Haygrove’s South African product range constantly adapts and evolves to provide a range of solutions that enable a real return on investment for the grower.

Photos supplied by Haygrove Growing Systems

The Trellis Tunnel is the tallest structure in Haygrove’s range and can be built up to a maximum height of 7m to the apex. The sheer volume of the tunnel offers greater control over the microclimate while offering crop protection against extreme weather conditions such as excessive wind, rain, hail, and sun damage.

This Trellis polytunnel was one of the first structures designed to provide fully automated climate control venting solutions, achieved through a partnership between Haygrove South Africa and AgrilogiQ with the objective of developing the most user-friendly, modular, and cost-effective field-scale polytunnel climate automation system.

The automation system consists of vent motorisation and an on-site dashboard with internal and external weather stations. These record wind speed and direction, rain, temperature, humidity and vapour pressure deficit (VPD), allowing the grower to choose which factors to base the automation on and track the internal environmental changes as the venting takes place.

Once the automation parameters are entered into the programme, the internal and external environments can be compared thereby enabling the system to vent the structure to meet the growers’ requirements.

The system has many safety features, including wind orientation, sun orientation, and closure in the event of rain – all automated and controllable through a website, thereby giving the grower control whether on the farm or not.

Haygrove also offers the AgrilogiQ independent weather data and forecast systems, as well as systems that can simply motorise a structure without automation.

Benefits of automation 
The automation system is simple and straightforward to use, having all the hard work done in the background. This allows for a less labour intensive and more responsive solution, as the system automates the venting in accordance with variations detected by the weather sensors. Correspondingly, the software boasts highly unique rain, wind and sun safety algorithms providing protection, and in addition allows four position venting for stepped or sequential opening (as opposed to the two positions of being either open or closed).

Furthermore, the motors have decentralised load management for ease of modular expansion at field-scale.

Wireless connectivity of the hardware allows cost-effective scalability for large projects and further minimizes installation costs. The online system formulates custom reports and allows for tracking of historical weather data, and vent positioning feedback.

Haygrove trellis tunnel benefits
Haygrove’s patented design facilitates the tolerance of most gradients and offers ease of construction without the need for cement. Up to 50% of the Trellis Tunnel’s roof can be vented either manually or automatically, and the structure is proven to withstand very high winds. The integrated trellis cable infrastructure is designed to carry weights up to 30kg to 35 kg per m2.

An additional benefit is that there is ample clearance for field tractors. Retrofit options include large volume steel gutters to harvest rainfall while enabling growers to seal their tunnel completely, thereby offering additional control of temperature and humidity.

Haygrove makes use of high tensile galvanized steel to add extra strength to the tunnels. Haygrove's special oval hoops bend like traditional circular steel but have increased lateral strength due to their flat sides. The Haygrove profile steel provides a stronger and lighter hoop and therefore a more cost-effective solution.

For more information:
Haygrove Growing Systems
Tel: +27 21 859 1026
Email: [email protected]