Tag Archives: Greenhouse Accessories

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

Agra Tech and Ridder/HortiMaX North America Nurture Growing Relationship

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By aligning itself with top companies worldwide, Agra Tech, Inc. is able to be on the cutting edge of every aspect of the commercial greenhouse farming industry and offering its customers world-class solutions. One of these beneficial relationships is with Ridder/HortiMaX North America, a global company with local offices in Ontario, California, Wisconsin and North Carolina. By incorporating products and systems manufactured by Ridder/HortiMaX North America into greenhouses made by Agra Tech in Pittsburg, CA, it is an alliance that benefits both parties, as well as greenhouse growers and ultimately consumers.

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Ron Daemen is the President of Ridder/HortiMaX North America and pleased to be working with Agra Tech. By strategically looking at new products and systems and other ancillary products all the time, this international company with offices in seven countries, has already become a major player in the United States.

Ridder/HortiMax North America is always looking to support greenhouse growers worldwide to achieve better results through best fit growing technology together with their partners in the industry, including Agra Tech.

Daemen explained the business relationship his company has with Agra Tech, Inc., one of the world’s largest manufacturers of commercial greenhouses. “Agra Tech is a reseller of our products and systems and for that reason they know us very well. With their knowledge and experience and our wide range of solutions for their customers all over the country, we work well together.”

The products and solutions that Ridder/HortiMax North America offers fit into three categories: Climate & Energy, Water & Nutrition and Labor & Productivity. By utilizing a strategic combination of these, the company can devise a solution for any greenhouse grower. Recently, Ridder/HortiMax North America also jumped into the climate screens industry, to add yet another product to its impressive lineup.

Ridder/HortiMax North America has been involved in several major greenhouse projects in the U.S., including Gotham Greens, a company that designs, builds and operates commercial scale greenhouse facilities in urban areas for fresh vegetable production. Since commencing production in early 2011, Gotham Greens has quickly become a worldwide pioneer in the field of urban agriculture and one of New York State’s leading producers of premium-quality, greenhouse-grown vegetables and herbs.

Ridder/HortiMaX North America is currently focusing on several U.S. greenhouse growing categories, Daemen explained. “Right now our customers are growing vegetables and marijuana in states where it’s legal and once more and more states legalize the recreational use of marijuana that market will grow. We also want to get more ornamental flower growers as customers, because we see significant future growth in that area. Whenever we decide to go after a certain market, we first have to determine its size and how our products can best serve it.”

Agra Tech and Ridder/HortiMax North America forged an alliance officially four years ago. “We started working with John Pound and his team at Agra Tech back in 2011,” Daemen said. “But they actually began purchasing Ridder products back in the 1990s. I expect our relationship with Agra Tech will continue to flourish, because they are a strong company with an impressive track record. We both value customer service and that is important to any business relationship, because in the end we want to serve our customers and the industry. Here at Ridder/HortiMax, we believe in treating the customer how we would want to be treated, and I know that the Pound family does too.”

It’s a two-fold mutually beneficial alliance, because Agra Tech brings valuable leads to Ridder/HortiMax North America and vice versa, according to Daemen. “With our products and systems and Agra Tech’s knowledge and skills, we can provide a great combination of viable solutions for any greenhouse operation—large or small and regardless of what they’re growing.”

What does Daemen think about the future of commercial greenhouse growing in North America and worldwide? “It looks exceedingly positive. Consumers are demanding better quality and healthier food. Today’s greenhouse technology will help growers to deliver on these demands. At Ridder-HortiMaX, we’re always doing research and development to come up with better products and solutions, so that we can best serve our partners and customers all over the planet.”

 

LED Lighting Can Save Time and Money

LED lights in commercial greenhouse

LED lights in commercial greenhouse

With LED lighting systems that can speed up the growing process more affordably than ever before, greenhouse growers are flocking to these newer, cooler and longer-lasting lighting systems that use less energy than incandescent lights. In this article, we’ll shed some light on this ever-changing technology and how LED lights can be successfully used in conjunction with commercial greenhouses manufactured by Agra Tech, Inc., a leading manufacturer of commercial greenhouses and accessories as well as a major distributor of associated equipment for commercial, horticultural, and agricultural growers, retail nurseries, research and education facilities.

Technological advances in the field of botany and horticulture have taken amazing leaps in just the last decade. By slightly altering the photosynthesis mechanisms of plants, horticulturists are able to take control of their biology and produce better crops faster and less costly. Another method horticulturists use to improve crop production is by refining the way they use various wavelengths of light delivered at different times of the day. LED lights are ideal for this latter technique, because they can be dialed in for anything you’re growing in a greenhouse environment.

By using LED lighting systems strategically and thereby reducing  electrical consumption, greenhouse farmers can save big bucks. Different crops require varied lighting requirements. For instance, for flowering plants, growers use low-intensity lighting applications while high-intensity lighting applications are ideal for young plants and vegetables

Low-intensity applications are best-suited for crops requiring long photoperiods and high-intensity LED light applications are ideal for plants that thrive best when their photosynthetic processes are boosted over a short period of time.  LED lights in greenhouses have a wide range of benefits, but primarily users of Agra Tech, Inc. commercial greenhouses most appreciate the following:

  • LED lights produce less heat, which means you can place them closer to plants without worrying if they will burn them.
  • More selectable wavelengths offered by LED lights; offering flexibility and customization.
  • Lower cost-of-use overall; Saving money is a HUGE advantage of using LED light systems.
  • Longer life than incandescent lighting; Set them up and watch them last season after season.
  • Compact and mobile; If your growing plans change, you can easily transport or breakdown your LED lights.
  • Flexible design capabilities; Set them up horizontally or vertically, easily and quickly.
  • More efficiency; Which means you’re getting more growth using less energy.

If you’re skeptical about these “magical” lights, rest assured–there are tons of research backing all these claims. In one scenario, tomatoes grown using LED lights in the winter can significantly reduce greenhouse energy costs without sacrificing yield, according to a recent Purdue University study. The stated goal of this research was to reduce prices to the point where local growers could compete with the prices of tomatoes that are shipped from faraway places. Local tomatoes would be harvested vine ripe, would taste better and would boost local economies, in situations where greenhouse farmers used LED lights in greenhouses just like the ones designed and made by Agra Tech, Inc.

“The United States still imports one-third of its tomatoes from Mexico and Canada, as well as other countries,” the study explained. “This technology could allow U.S. growers to create local jobs that shrink carbon footprints and produce better-tasting tomatoes.” Future studies include comparing LED-lit tomatoes with traditionally grown tomatoes for flavor. This study is published in the journal HortTechnology and The Specialty Crop Initiative of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture funded the research.

Now, the big question is—how do LED lights compare with incandescent lights and Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL) price-wise? LED lights typically cost more than incandescent and CFL lights, but considering how infrequently you’ll have to replace them compared to the average lifetime of incandescent or CFL lights, the long-term savings is clear. LED lights have an average lifetime of 50,000 hours, while incandescent lights have 1,200 hours and CFLs have only 8,000 hours.

The short answer to a long question is that incandescent and CFL lights are still a slightly better deal right now in the short term, but LED lights are dropping in price and the overall energy savings may soon trump the old incandescent and CFL lights across the board.

As LED lighting progresses and growers learn how to manipulate it for best results, this emerging technology will greatly change greenhouse growing all over the planet. An LED Research Consortium was formed several years ago to provide insight into LED lighting. Michigan State University, Orbital Technologies, Inc., Rutgers University, University of Arizona and the aforementioned Purdue University are all on board to make LED lighting more prevalent in commercial greenhouses all over the world.

If these growers can use LED lights to save money and energy while producing high-quality crops consistently, this method of lighting will make incandescent lights part of the distant past. And that’s why everyone at Agra Tech, Inc. is on the cutting edge of LED lighting, because if it can make better crops faster and save energy, we’re in it to win it!

Article by Ed Attanasio

LED lights in commercial greenhouse

LED lights in commercial greenhouse