A DYNAMIC ENVIRONMENT
Greenhouse environments present unique challenges to good control. Temperature changes occur rapidly and vary widely depending on solar radiation levels, outside temperatures and humidity levels, wind speed and direction, the amount of plant material in the greenhouse, watering routines, etc. Proper control of this dynamic environment is indeed challenging, but the benefits of good control far exceed the costs.
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Ultimately, the objective of any greenhouse system is to reduce the input cost per unit of production and maintain or increase the quality of production. While some investments effect the input cost and/or quality of one or two specific tasks (i.e. transplanters, soil handling equipment, etc.), a well-integrated environment system will have a positive effect on virtually every function in a facility. Even a small percentage of improvement in several areas will yield substantial improvements overall. Growers that own Integrated Control Systems report experiencing many real benefits resulting from improved control.
HIGHER ENERGY EFFICIENCY
Better equipment coordination and more accurate control can reduce heating fuel and electrical costs. Savings vary depending on how well you already manage your environment and the controls you purchase.
BETTER LABOR EFFICIENCY
Automated controls increase the productivity of workers by enabling them to attend to more valuable tasks. Increased output reduces the pressure for more labor.
IMPROVED MANAGEMENT EFFECTIVENESS
Perhaps the most important function of good control systems is the additional information available to managers and growers, enabling them to make better management decisions and spend more time managing the process instead of being or doing the process.
REDUCED WATER USE
With the modern irrigation control capabilities in many systems water application is more precise, and timelier. Growers report reduced overall water use and runoff of as much as 70% with the most effective irrigation controls.
REDUCED FERTILIZER USE
Constant monitoring and control provides higher accuracy that, when combined with efficient water use, can substantially reduce fertilizer application and improve its effectiveness.
REDUCED CHEMICAL USE
More precise control of temperatures and more effective use of DIF and other growth regulating temperature regimens reduce the need for growth regulators. Better management of humidity, irrigation, and temperature also helps reduce plant stress and diseases and, consequently, the need for fungicides and other chemicals.
REDUCED PESTICIDE USE
Greenhouses with better climate control and precise irrigation produce healthier plants. Healthier plants are less susceptible to disease and insect infestation. Growers report noticeable reductions in insect populations and pesticide use in well controlled environments.
IMPROVED PLANT QUALITY & UNIFORMITY
Less disease, more effective irrigation and fertilization, improved grower information and management all combine to increase the health and uniformity of plants. Uniform crops are easier to handle and market.
REDUCED EQUIPMENT WEAR & TEAR
Poor control over-taxes equipment by over-cycling and increasing operation hours. Good control allows more precise management of the equipment. Continuous monitoring and alarms alert growers to pending breakdowns and other problems earlier, before more serious consequences occur.
LESS PLANT LOSS FROM FAILURES
Good data logging and graphing of greenhouse conditions and sophisticated early warning alarm systems help reduce losses from catastrophic failures.
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