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Cravo initiates berry trial sites in Mexico

To support growers that want to progress to the next level in profitable berry production, Cravo has now initiated trials of raspberries, blackberries and blueberries at both of it’s demonstration and training centers in Mexico. The blackberry trials are being done with the variety Aquetzali and the raspberry trials are being done the variety Evita, from Giddings Fruit. The blueberry trials are being done with the variety Biloxi from Planamerica and BIOGEA. Irrigation is from Metzer, containers from Plantlogic and substrate from Legro and Germinaza.

Level 1
Nature without protection/ Open field
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Level 2
Protection without nature/ Conventional tunnel
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Level 3
Nature + Protection + Climate Optimization/ Automatic retractable roof greenhouses and cooling houses
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Strawberry young plant production
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Blueberry young plant production
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The first trial site is in Culiacan Mexico which is located at latitude 24 at 50m elevation. It has a peaked roof with gutter to collect the rain.

The second location is 900km away at Irapuato Guanajuato, Mexico which is at latitude 21 but at an elevation of 1,700m. It also has the retractable cooling roof but the house is the lower cost flat roof house which will allow rain to pass through the roof covering.

Benefits of climate optimization using automated roofs compared to conventional tunnels
Increasing yields

  • fruits are typically larger, firmer and with a higher brix than those grown in tunnels
  • quantity of fruit per plant can be increased compared to tunnels since:
    - plants received higher light levels when outside conditions are optimal

    - higher nighttime temperatures can be maintained since the roof and walls can completely close to trap more heat

    - it is easier to manage plant balance since retracting the roof will help prevent excessive vegetative growth and increase the number of stems being developed

    - honey or bumble bees are more effective and the lower humidity and wind naturally helps facilitate pollination.

    - the yield per plant is more consistent throughout the houses due to the more uniform growing environment even when growing in 5+ hectare houses

    - losses due to botrytis and powdery mildew is naturally lower due to direct sunlight, wind and lower humidity levels

    - losses due to spotted wing drosophila, white fly and thrip can be naturally reduced due to the closed sidewalls and lower humidity levels

    - losses from erratic weather patterns can be automatically prevented simply by closing or retracting the roof

    - chill hours can be increased
  • plant density can be increased since plants develop a more compact structure in a retractable roof
Shifting or extending the harvest to hit higher price windows
  • harvest season can easily be extended compared to a tunnel since warmer temperatures can be maintained inside when outside conditions are too cold
  • cooler temperatures can be maintained inside when outside conditions will cause plant temperatures to become excessive. Low pressure mist or high-pressure fog can help lower temperatures when required
  • the choice of retractable greenhouse or cooling roofs allow:
    - transplanting dates to be moved earlier or later

    - crops to be grown in hotter locations due to the improved ability to manage excessive heat, cold, wind and humidity
Reducing your production costs compared to tunnels while simultaneously increasing yields
  • labor to open, close, install or remove roofs is eliminated since hectares of roofs can be automatically opened or closed in minutes
  • it is easier to incorporate large mechanical sprayers and spray requirements for insects and disease should be reduced
  • it is easy to manage plant vigor by choosing to expose plants to greenhouse or outdoor conditions
  • harvesting costs can be reduced since:
    - higher yields per plant allow for faster harvesting

    - harvest rate can be maintained for more hours in the day since more comfortable work environments can be maintained when outside temperatures are too hot or cold
    - it will be easier to incorporate mechanical harvesters into the retractable roof house due to the higher clearances
  • Maintenance costs to repair damage from wind and hail will be reduced since every retractable roof house is designed to withstand a minimum of 110kph ( 70MPH) when the roof is closed. Retracting the roofs when higher windspeeds are forecast will help prevent damage to the roof covering. Roof coverings have proven to be very resistant to hail since not one roof covering less than 10 years old has been replaced due to hail damage
  • higher yields per m² allows for the same production to occur on a smaller footprint helping to reduce land acquisition costs
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