In the Netherlands, the surface area dedicated to cucumber cultivation is more than 600 hectares. In most cases, the cultivation method used in greenhouses is the “traditional umbrella method” rather than the more modern “high-wire method”.
TomSystem is becoming increasingly popular in the horticultural sector in the Netherlands. Currently it is used above all for securing tomatoes, peppers, aubergines and cucumbers (high-wire).
THE TRADITIONAL METHOD OF CUCUMBER CULTIVATION
The main difference is in the way that the plants are grown. In the traditional method, the twine is fixed, and the plants only grow up to the top, to a height of around 2 metres. When the plants reach the horizontal wire, their heads are pinched out to stop them growing any further. Side shoots then grow out, hanging down like an umbrella. In this way, growers can produce 3 to 4 crops a year.
The traditional method involves lower labour costs than the high-wire system, but with the former it is more difficult to produce the quality of product throughout the life of the crop.
Continuous quality production is one of the main advantages of the high-wire system. With this tying system, the crop is trained in the same way as are tomato plants: by using twine hooked to a high wire at 4 to 5 metres above the ground. When the plant grows and reaches the highest point, the twine is lowered, allowing the plant to continue to grow. Using this method, growers do not need to crop 3 or 4 times a year; twice is enough.
In the Netherlands, 2 crops a year are grown using this method. The first is planted at the beginning of the year, and the second at the start of the summer. Labour costs are slightly higher with this method, but the quality of the cucumbers is much better.
Agrifast’s Tomsystem tool has been used for clipping tomatoes for four seasons in the Netherlands, and for two in the case of high-wire cucumbers. Currently, TomSystem is used for 25% of the high-wire cucumber crop in the Netherlands, and this figure is expected to rise in future years.
Take a look at this video to see how TomSystem works in the Netherlands for high-wire cucumber cultivation:
SECURING CUCUMBERS WITH TOMSYSTEM
A Dutch cucumber grower explains why he is now using our clipping system.
In 2015, Rino Kaljauw, a traditional cucumber grower in Sint Annaland in Zeeland, contacted DJ Products/Hortiware (TomSystem distributor in the Netherlands) to enquire about the possibility of using the clipping system for securing the cucumber plants to the support twine. He had a total of 7 hectares of greenhouse space.
“When training the cucumber plants, they very often broke, and that’s why we thought that TomSystem might be able to help us avoid crop damage. We had no previous experience of clipping cucumber plants, but the response from Dirk-Jan Haas at DJ Products was very positive”: “Let’s give it a go!”
After transplanting, it takes just 3 weeks for the plant to grow to the height of the wire. During that period some 7 metal staples are used to secure the plant. “This season cucumber prices are better than they were last year, but we are always looking for new technologies to reduce labour costs. Tomsystem has definitely been a great help,” admits Rino Kaljauw.
“When we plant the crop in summer, it grows so fast it’s very difficult to secure it to the twine. Also, when it’s very hot at midday, you can’t secure the plants as they are easily damaged because the stress level is increased. The plant suffers as the stem is ‘strangled’ by the twine and it’s more difficult for water and nutrients to be carried up from the roots.”
This is the second advantage of Tomsystem: “Tying with this tool is not only faster, but also allows work to be carried out during the hottest hours of the day, as no stress is caused to the plant”, says Kaljauw.
Vision for the future
In the autumn, several of Mr. Kaljauw’s fellow growers who grow cucumbers in the traditional way as well as autumn tomatoes will also be using Tomsystem. “For us, our customers are our best sales people”, explains Dirk Jan Haas. “A satisfied customer will always give you a hand by saying good things when speaking to other growers. All we have to do is solve their problems and meet their needs”.
For 2016, more traditional cucumber growers are expected to switch to the high-wire cultivation method, but whatever system they use, they can always benefit from the advantages of Agrifast’s TomSystem. “Now we’re just hoping that cucumbers will continue to fetch a good price this autumn!” says Rino Kaljauw.
Cucumbers under glass in the Netherlands
In the Netherlands, the surface area dedicated to cucumber cultivation is more than 600 hectares. In most cases, the cultivation method used in greenhouses is the “traditional method” rather than the more modern “high-wire method”.