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The Oliveros family have owned the land in Celaya for over 60 years. Drip irrigation was not installed until the start of this century.
Due to the hot climate that is growing hotter every year, the grower's main challenge is to make sure the plants survive. Over the years, the family have shifted production to poly greenhouses and have started experimenting with technology. Before that time, much work was still done manually. Using the Internet, they were able to determine the best blend of nutrients and temperature control strategy for their crops.
There was an urgent need to further automate the climate and irrigation systems, so they would be able to control and increase the relative humidity. They therefore decided to invest in a HortiMaX CX500, providing integrated control of both the greenhouse climate and irrigation. This allowed the family to refine their control strategy. For instance, they were now able to control irrigation based on solar radiation, as well as control certain areas of the greenhouse individually. As a result, the crops remained dryer in the morning and irrigation scheduling could be controlled more accurately based on crop variety and age.
Being able to accurately control the relative humidity was a major breakthrough for this grower. It has reduced the level of 'green shoulders' on the fruit. About 40% of the crop would suffer from this phenomenon, due to the very hot (about 35-40°C) and very dry springs. This would ‘suck’ the humidity out of the greenhouse, causing the fruit to not ripen sufficiently. Fruit with green shoulders sell at a much lower price. The rate of green shoulders has been brought down to 6%, resulting in the best yields ever. At first, the grower was very sceptical about using technology, but not anymore. Thanks to the substrate's higher EC value and more favourable humidity level, the Brix value of their product has improved significantly. What’s more, the grower found the system's ease of use ‘a blessing'.
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