Market conditions in commercial horticulture are tough right now and growers are faced with difficult choices when deciding how to stay ahead.
Low market prices and rising input costs continue to squeeze profit margins for commercial growers in the UK and across Europe. These pressures can in part be mitigated by efficiency improvements – that is, more produce per plant – but, when it comes to challenging economic times, the temptation is all too often to batten down the hatches and stick to what you know, rather than trying something new.
Another approach is to turn to Research and Development and look for new innovations to deliver greater value from growing systems.
Over the last two seasons some of our glasshouse growers have been testing new biochar-based substrate additives to boost hydroponic production. These trials, run on significant scale, have resulted in an average 11% yield increase in a single season on salad crops.
When rolled out across hectares of production this new approach will deliver critical competitive advantage in a difficult economic climate.
R&D need not be a leap in the dark. On the contrary, growers must now weigh up the risks and ask themselves if this is an area they can afford to ignore. We suggest not!