Optimising production methods is one of the aims of many greenhouse growers. Determining what makes an optimal climate for crop quality and production, however, can be challenging, and it’s certainly worth bearing in mind that what feels comfortable to a person may be less than ideal for a crop. Furthermore, each type of plant will have its own requirements and characteristics in terms of the environment it can thrive in. An important part of achieving that environment is air movement.
Air movement should be seen as a tool to help maintain an active and homogeneous climate. This can lead to a number of benefits including:
- Uniform humidity
- Uniform temperature
- Assisting transpiration
- Reducing condensation and disease risk
- Achieving uniform plant growth
- Efficient use of energy
One of the major benefits of good air movement is a reduced risk of disease. A build-up of moist air around the crop can lead to condensation forming on the plant if its temperature falls below the dew point. This can occur as a result of radiation exchange between the plant and a cold sky, even if the greenhouse air temperature is above the dew point. Importantly, this can happen whenever there is a net outgoing radiation exchange (i.e. more energy going out than coming in), which can occur both during the daytime and at night. By moving air around the greenhouse, humidity and temperature can be evened out too much more desirable levels. This allows for more predictable humidity control. A uniform climate is also likely to result in uniform plant growth, meaning fewer rejects and, potentially, easier harvesting. Furthermore, for greenhouses which experience significant temperature variations, achieving an even climate will reduce overcompensation effects, meaning energy consumption can be reduced.
To find out more about air movement in glasshouses check out GrowSave's* recently released technical update, Air Movement, that looks at why air movement is important, the benefits of the different types of fans available, the relevant costs and more...
*GrowSave delivered by FEC Energy on behalf of the AHDB Horticulture— a levy-funded organisation that serves the commercial horticultural industry in England, Scotland and Wales.