Both high wire and traditional growers now using ringing method
Greenhouse cucumbers in Holland
Cucumbers are grown on more than 600 hectares in the Netherlands. In most cases, the growing method that is being used in greenhouses is the “traditional cucumber method”, instead of the more modern “high wire cucumber method”.
Traditional Cucumber Method
The main difference is the way in which the cucumber plants are conducted. In the traditional method, the twine is fixed and the plants grow only to the upper part of the twine, which is around 2 meters high. When the plants reach the horizontal wire, they are topped, or sometimes they keep on growing down a little bit more, depending on the duration of the season.
In this way, the owners can grow 3 or even 4 crops in one year. The traditional cucumber method has a lower labor cost than the high wire cucumber method, but getting a high quality product is not so easy while using the traditional method.
High wire cucumber method
In fact, getting a high quality product is one of the main advantages of the high wire system. With this tying system, the crop is conducted like how its done with tomato plants: with a twine hook hanged from a high wire situated at 4 or 5 meters above the ground. When the plant grows up and reaches the top, the twine is lowered, allowing the plant to keep on growing. Like this, the greenhouse owners do not need to plant new crops 3 or 4 times a year, but just 2.
In the Netherlands with this method, 2 crops are planted every year. The first crop is planted at the beginning of the year and the second one at the beginning of the summer. With this method the labor cost is slightly higher, but on the other hand the quality of the cucumbers is a lot better.
The Agrifast Tomsystem has already been been used for 4 seasons in the Netherlands to tie tomatoes, and for 2 years for high wire cucumbers. Currently, the Tomsystem is being used on 25% of the high wire cucumber growers in the Netherlands, and we expect more growers to join for the 2016 system.
Have a look at this video to see how the Tomsystem works in Holland in high wire cucumbers:
Dutch cucumber grower explains why he implemented our tying system
In 2015, Rino Kaljauw, a traditional cucumber grower located in Sint Annaland in Zeeland, contacted Agrifast and DJ Products/Hortiware (distributor of the Tom System in the Netherlands) to ask about the possibility of using the tying system to twist his cucumber plants along the twine. He has in total 7 hectares of greenhouses.
He used to have a lot of broken heads when twisting the cucumber plants, that is why he though Tomsystem could help him out preventing its crop from getting damaged while twisting. We did not have previous experience in tying cucumber plants, but Dirk-Jan Haas from DJ Products’ answer was clear: “let’s try it!”.
After transplanting, it takes only 3 weeks to grow the plant until it reachers the wire, during that period of time around 7 metal rings are used to tie the plant. “This season the cucumber prices are better than the last past years but either way we are always looking for new technologies to reduce labor costs. Tomsystem definitely helped us,” admits Rino Kaljauw.
“When we plant the new crop in summer time, it grows so fast which means that it is very difficult to twist it along the twine. Besides that, when it is too hot at midday, it is not possible to twist the plants because it is very easy to damage them, when the stress increases, the plant is suffering because the stem is strangled up by the twine and makes it more difficult to transport the water and nutrients from the roots.”
There comes the second advantage of the Tom System. “Clipping with the tool is not only faster, but it also allows us to work during the hottest hours of the day, as the plant does not suffer stress anymore,” states Mr Kaljauw.
For autumn several colleagues of Mr. Kaljauw who grow traditional cucumbers and autumn tomatoes are going to use also the Tomsystem. “For us, our customers are our best sales people,” explains Dirk Jan Haas. “A satisfied client will always help you when he talks to other colleagues. We just have to help them solve their problems and meet their needs.”
For 2016, more traditional cucumber growers are expected to switch to the high wire growing method, but whatever the system is, in both cases they can profit from the advantages of the Agrifast Tom System. “Now we just expect to keep on having good cucumber prices this autumn!” hopes Rino Kaljauw.