Category Archives: Insect Exclusion

Large Companies Tap into Agra Tech’s Knowledge and Cutting-Edge Products

Woodland R & D Facility

Agra Tech, manufacturer of commercial greenhouses and located in Pittsburg, CA, works with small growers all the way to the largest agricultural providers in the world because they value Agra Tech for its extensive experience, innovative spirit and extensive knowledge.

Commercial R & D Greenhouse - HVAC distribution corridor

Commercial R & D Greenhouse – HVAC distribution corridor

Adam Pound is an Account Manager at Agra Tech and he works with some of these mega-sized companies, so he is aware of what they need and what they expect from any commercial greenhouse company.

Recently, Agra Tech signed a three-year vendor agreement with one of the aforementioned mega-sized R&D customers, a global company with a facility in Woodland, CA, where they breed and grow seeds for vegetables to be sold worldwide. Featuring nine acres containing 60-plus greenhouses, this company is able to simulate all of the climates where they market their seeds.

Because Agra Tech is a highly-respected commercial greenhouse provider, this billion dollar company signed a deal with Agra Tech, but it did not happen overnight. “Once they saw what we could bring to the table, they decided to work with us,” Adam Pound explained. “We started working with them 3 years ago. Initially they were dealing with 23 vendors world-wide and now it is down to 2. After sitting down with them and outlining all of their needs and challenges, we were able to reach an agreement that will take them into their next phase. By integrating some of our patented innovations into their greenhouses, we’ve been able to help them in areas such as employee safety and insect exclusion, among others.”

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Exterior Fall Protection Scaffold

The safety innovation that Agra Tech has provided for this large corporation is called the Fall Protection Scaffold System that provides an added level of safety for workers operating both inside and outside the greenhouse. Exceeding OSHA standards, these systems include special engineering of the greenhouse to support the weight and inertia of workers should they fall. By using this scaffolding system, workers will not hit the ground in the event of a fall and the greenhouse will retain its structural integrity.

Interior Trolley Fall Protection

Interior Trolley Fall Protection

There are two different types of scaffolding available by Agra Tech: One for the exterior to maintain the coverings and another for the interior of the greenhouse that runs under the ridge, featuring planks and a trolley that run along the length of the greenhouse. To use it, workers simply snap their safety harnesses the trolley that runs under the ridge to access the roof vent and maintain the screens.

 

The other cutting-edge feature that this large R&D grower wanted to embrace is Agra Tech’s Agri Kool, a positive pressure cooling system designed to prevent insect entry into the greenhouse growing area. Developed in 1992, this system has proven to be superior over negative pressure cooling, the way many greenhouses were using for decades and still do.

Positive Pressure cooling system being installed

Positive Pressure cooling being installed

“Positive pressure is better at keeping insects out and that’s the bottom line,” Adam Pound said. “This client started using it several years ago and eventually they will be using it in all of their 60 greenhouses. Positive pressure also leads to higher crop yields, temperature uniformity and faster plant growth. Scientists that are developing seeds need uniform temperatures and they also don’t want to have to use pesticides during the growth stage, because they can impede growth. Whenever you spray a pesticide on a plant, it will slow down its growth for days, even weeks. By using our patented positive pressure system, the plants can grow uninterrupted.”

Adam_Pound

Adam_Pound

Adam Pound and the Pound family are pleased to be working with all of its customers—from small mom and pop operations all the way to the largest corporations in the world—but signing a contract with a massive R&D company is certainly big news and a very good thing for Agra Tech, Adam Pound said.

“By being associated with a well-known name is good for the company and good for our future,” he said. “We’re big enough to handle any size project and small enough to be responsive. We give them all the best customer service in the industry. By offering our clients more value, we make their decisions a little easier. It’s all about building relationships in any business and this one is surely no exception.”

Written by Edmund Attanasio

Ed

Lassen Canyon Nursery Produces the World’s Finest Strawberry Plants

Lassen Canyon new Solar Light

Founded in the 1950s, the Lassen Canyon Nursery grows a quarter billion strawberry plants in California, Mexico and China every year while also growing hay on 930 acres. With its headquarters in Redding, CA and multiple locations worldwide, this company is well-known for producing strawberry plants that are healthy and strong for their customers all over the world, including huge growers (such as Dole, Sweet Darling and Naturipe Farms) all the way to small do-it-yourselfers with modest backyard gardens.

Clip_2Pete Stone, 57, has been working for the nursery for the past 30 years. He started out in the office and today he is the company’s Tissue Culture Lab Manager and also in charge of its Caneberry Project. The caneberry is a family of delicate berries that grow on tough but thin woody canes and thrive in a cool, moist climate. Caneberries include raspberries, blackberries and boysenberries and the company is currently performing research in order to produce caneberry plants that will be healthy and thriving in any environment.

Lassen Canyon Nursery is a long-time customer of Agra Tech, Inc., commercial greenhouse manufacturers. Stone has a total of eight greenhouses that were purchased from Agra Tech and has plans to buy eight more in the very near future. He values Agra Tech’s knowledge and experience and often relies on them for new, innovative ways to be productive and efficient.

One of these ideas concerned rolling benches for Stone and his operation, he explained. “Jim Bergantz at Agra Tech and I started talking about rolling benches and we wanted them too, but previously we were using solid benches and they offered us zero flexibility. These rolling benches give us a large walkway that can be moved and they allow us to use every square inch of our greenhouse. They make a lot of sense and have already paid for themselves, because now we’re saving time and we’ve increased our volume as a result.”

Rolling Benches

Lassen Canyon Nursery uses two types of structures to grow strawberry plants and perform research and development—screen houses and greenhouses, Stone explained. “We use our screen houses that don’t have real walls—they’re made out of screens, because we want that chill on the berries. For that reason, they’re not completely enclosed. Then, we use our conventional greenhouses primarily for seeding the strawberries and taking them through their formative weeks. The two have very distinct functions and that’s why they look so different.”

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Ray Poundagcon

Stone called upon Ag-Con, Inc. in San Jose, CA to construct the new greenhouses, an experience Stone said was seamless and drama-free. “Ray Pound and Lisa Schultz at Ag-Con make an amazing team and they made the construction easy for us. They built all eight of our greenhouses for us and they took roughly a week to do each one—complete and ready to use. I would suggest to anyone that they should use Ag-Con for the construction, because they’re totally professional and great to work with. They know how to get the right permits, which is a big part of the process and if they run into obstacles, they know how to take care of it, which is important.”

Starting in September, the strawberry plants go out to be grown in soil by Lassen Canyon’s thousands of customers. “Our goal is to ship the strawberry plants and have them in the soil within 72 hours,” Stone said. “Right before we ship them, we expose them to 240 hours at 45 degrees, so that we trick them and they store energy. That way, they are robust and ready for planting once they reach our customers’ farms. In 60-90 days, our customers will have beautiful, juicy strawberries that are consistently of the highest quality you’ll find anywhere.”

The future looks berry, berry good for Lassen Canyon Nursery, according to Stone. “We’re going to expand and get more greenhouses to accommodate our Caneberry Project as well as increase our volume overall. In everything we do, were looking for a better berry so that when they show up in grocery store produce departments, they look right and taste right. By working with Agra Tech and Ag-Con we’re able to excel and grow as we strive to find the perfect berry!”

Lassen North Slope inside

Lassen North Slope inside

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The Finest Orchids in the World are Grown in Agra Tech Greenhouses

 

Richard Munoz, Operations Manager for McLellan/Tiasuco America

Richard Munoz, Operations Manager for McLellan/Tiasuco America

By using commercial greenhouses made by Agra Tech, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of greenhouses, McLellan/Tiasuco America grows incredible orchids completely indoor. In 2000, Rod McLellan’s botanical division was purchased by the Taiwan Sugar Company (Taisuco) one of the largest orchid growers on the planet. The purchase gave Taisuco a more prominent position in North America when it bought this long-standing family farm with two large growing operations in California and Texas.

McLellan/Orchid in Agra Tech greenhouseTiasuco America’s main nursery is located in Aromas, CA, in the agriculturally rich Pajaro Valley. Most of its orchids are sold to flower stores and farmer’s markets and also operates a retail store operating in the San Francisco Flower Mart.

By exchanging research, development and resources with its counterparts, McLellan/Tiasuco America has earned a worldwide reputation for growing high-quality orchid species and innovative varieties that are grown, selected, packaged and shipped to its customers around the country. While growing unique, award-winning orchids in its greenhouses for year-round delivery, the company also grows Taisuco’s spiral eucalyptus varieties in its surrounding fields, which are harvested and shipped throughout the world year-round.orchid-slideshow-2

Richard Munoz is the company’s operations manager, which means he supervises a staff of more than 100 people and manages the nursery in Aromas, CA. Munoz, 57, enjoys his job, because the technology is rapidly changing and each day provides new challenges, he said. “The driving force in this industry is the technology and it has changed considerably within the last 10 years. We’ve been adapting to the new innovations as they emerge, because we want to use all of the newest tools and systems out there, if possible, to grow the finest and healthiest orchids in the world.”

McLellan/Tiasuco America cultivates hardy varieties that can stand up to the challenges of retail distribution and a broad range of home environments. “The seedlings are shipped here from Tiasuco in Taiwan, so they’re going to be on a ship for 18-20 days,” Munoz said. “When we get them, some of them are distressed, so we have techniques we’ve developed to get them healthy again.”

oncidiumThe orchid varieties offered by the company range from the most popular: Phalaenopsis, Oncidium and Miltonia to the exotic: Paphiopedilum, Cattleyas and other seasonal varieties. “We get new varieties from Taiwan every year, maybe 3-4 annually,” Munoz explained. “We have the classic whites and various shades of pinks, yellows and oranges and striped or spotted patterns in all colors, probably more than a dozen in all.”

Between the two farms, McLellan/Tiasuco America grows 1.3 million orchids annually with year round availability. The standard pot sizes include 3”, 4” and 6” with a variety of flower sizes from mini to large and customers can buy them either fully bloomed or in the bud stage, based on their preferences and/or requirements.phalaenopsis

Munoz has been working closely with Adam Pound, his sales rep at Agra Tech, Inc. for several years now and greatly values the relationship for several reasons, he said. “Agra Tech has been building greenhouses with a long time and Adam is a great source of knowledge for us. He is always looking for new great solutions for us to grow better orchids and each one has worked well. In Aromas, we have a total of 230,000 square feet of greenhouses that we purchased from Agra Tech and they always work tremendously well.”paphiopedilum

Munoz loves the control that the Agra Tech greenhouses provide for McLellan/Tiasuco America. “We can grow the orchids more quickly and turn them faster,” he said. “We’re in the process of making everything computerized and right now Adam has helped us to changeover 70% of our systems. Eventually, we’ll be 100% computer-controlled, because we’re constantly upgrading and trying to be better. That’s why we’re so happy to be working with Agra Tech, because we get access to both their products and their expertise.”

Article by Edmund Attanasio

Additional Notes: The greenhouses were built in the 80’s and feature one of Agra Tech’s first Positive Pressure installations which is still providing insect exclusion and outstanding cooling even after 30 years. The customer stated that he gets a 5 to 7 degree temperature differential over 300’, unheard of in negative pressure greenhouses.

Munoz also told us that his maintenance cost for the Agra Tech greenhouses are almost nothing compared the other greenhouses on site.  1403394593000-00