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First lettuce harvest at B-Four Agro

Ten layer propagation and fully automated production
”Soon, I will be able to sit back and relax.” Speaking is Dutch lettuce grower, Willem Bas, of the Dutch company, B-Four Agro, with a twinkle in his eye. He was asked what there would be for him actually to do in his new ultramodern greenhouse made by Vermako Greenhouses Belgium. It is, of course, not true that he will have nothing to do.

However, almost everything will soon be fully automated at this company in Warmenhuizen, the Netherlands.

Remarkable on the project is indeed the level of automation: from seeding to germination and than the propagation, taking place in a 10 layer vertical farm. Afterwards the plants are being moved into the greenhouse and mature on floaters with their roots in controlled water.

The cultivation in the three-hectare greenhouse, build by Vermako Greenhouses Belgium, will produce about 190.000 heads of lettuce. This lettuce will be sold at retailer Albert Heijn year-round. The product will be supplied to the stores via the vegetable processing company, Koninklijke Vezet.

It will ensure a secure supply of lettuce that is of consistently high quality and allows Albert Heijn to now offer the six Dutch-cultivated lettuce varieties in the winter too. These six are the Butter lettuce, Red and Green Oak leaf lettuce, Frisée, Lollo Rossa, and Batavia varieties.

“Only a small amount of lettuce will have to be imported from southern countries in the winter. This translates into considerable cuts in transportation costs and CO2 emissions. A saving of one full truck’s diesel per day”, according to a spokesperson from Albert Heijn.

Bas knows all too well that by growing plants hydroponically, fewer fertilizers and pesticides are also used. Until recently, the company only grew lettuce and celery, in full soil, on more than 100 hectares.

Together with his associates, Bart Bak and Fred Berkhout, Bas started experimenting with hydroponic farming in 2007. “At first, just outside but you cannot control the climate. Over ten years, we developed the optimum growth recipe”, Bas says.

This growth recipe is now being implemented in the greenhouse. However, the germination rooms and vertical farming cultivation room also play an vital role in this automated process. So, a seed can grow into a mature plant within seven to eight weeks. The product can also be traced throughout the entire process.

After this initial start-up phase, once everything is up and running, people will no longer be needed in the greenhouse. Everything that happens in the greenhouse can be able to be followed remotely via cameras.

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Israel announces creation of global seed company

Two Israeli seed producers, Nirit Seeds and TomaTech, have joined forces to create Israel’s largest vegetable seed company. This synergy will enable unique seed breeding research and development that will accelerate the company’s growth in the international seed markets.

Upon completion of the merger, the company will have more than 80 employees worldwide, including molecular biologists, breeders, agronomists, and others.
The company will improve its breeding activities in Israel, Spain, Mexico and Italy, as well as significantly expand its representation in the Netherlands and North America, with a particular focus on growing vegetables in high-tech greenhouses.

Nirit Seeds is one of the most successful internationally traded tomato and pepper seed producers, investing in the development of revolutionary genetic technologies. TomaTech is one of the leading tomato seed companies in Israel, developing premium varieties, including those resistant to the dangerous Tomato Brown Ruffle Virus (ToBRFV).

The production of crop seeds is one of the most advanced and high-tech sectors in Israel. According to the Seed Department of the Federation of Israel Chambers of Commerce, seed exports currently generate $200 million in annual revenue. There are about 25 large and medium-sized companies in the local industry.

For reference. According to market research, the global vegetable seed industry is valued at $8 billion a year and is growing at a CAGR of 8%.

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Karachay-Cherkessia became one of the leaders in the production of greenhouse vegetables at the end of 2021


Greenhouse vegetable production in 2021 reached a record 1.4 million tonnes. According to the Ministry of Agriculture of the Russian Federation, the leaders among the regions in this segment are the Karachay-Cherkess Republic, Lipetsk, Moscow, Kaluga, Volgograd, Novosibirsk, Saratov, Chelyabinsk regions, Krasnodar and Stavropol Territories, the Republics of Bashkortostan and Tatarstan. These regions account for more than 60% of the total production in the country. The intensive development of greenhouse projects in our country helps to provide Russians with fresh vegetables all year round. Last year, the harvest in winter greenhouses updated the 2020 record – more than 1.4 million tons of products were received. Including the production of cucumbers amounted to at least 830 thousand tons, and tomatoes – 590 thousand tons. It is expected that by 2025 the volume of vegetable production in year-round greenhouses will be at least 1.6 million tons of vegetables.


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December: Special Year Overview

In 2022, it will be 22 year since the new millennium started. Can’t believe it? Neither can we, but it is true. Before we go there, it is time to reflect on what has happened this year. Over the next couple of weeks, we will look back at 2021 and we will highlight the most important events that impacted the industry.

New greenhouses, events, even a few shows, technical novelties, and all other relevant news will pass by, offering you something other than Covid to talk about during Christmas and New Years’.


Wish your customers Happy Holidays
This special also offers an opportunity to put your company in the spotlight with a banner in this special box. This banner can be booked until December 24 on our newsletters. For more information, feel free to send an email to: 

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