In search of the perfect coating
Pepper grower Johann Thell, of Tadten (Burgenland), has through previous use of ReduHeat and ReduFuse decided on ReduFuse IR. This appears to be the optimum coating for achieving higher quality and production.
Thell grows the pepper varieties Sven RZ and Davos RZ. Both varieties are susceptible to blossom end rot. In 2014 the grower saw no blossom end rot under ReduFuse IR and also no burn spots. The coating contributed to this as well as the moderate summer. In the middle of the season there were very few warm days and hardly any warm nights. “You can maintain a fresh crop for longer and this was very good for the quality,” he says.
The company has 5.6 hectares of glass. Together with two other horticultural companies the grower has a spray- and roofwashing machine to apply the coating and to remove it at the end of the summer (begin September).
Better light penetration
ReduFuse IR shades as well as diffuses the light so the light penetrates the crop better. As a result even the older leaves make a good contribution to photosynthesis. Also, the top of the crop experiences less heat stress under a diffuse roof. In addition, this type of coating shades out the infrared light so that the plants and the greenhouse remain cooler. “Our crop consutant, Chris Verberne, has indicated that ReduFuse IR is a good choice for peppers, bearing in mind the climatic conditions in the Burgenland,” says owner, Thell. “The coating results in a little extra light loss compared with ReduFuse which we used last year. But that’s not a problem here; the maximum amount of radiation during the summer in the Burgenland is just over 1000 Watt. We even need to apply an extra layer of whitewash to make sure we have maximum control during the worst of the summer heat. That chalk layer gradually wears away, so you get a nice transition from summer to autumn.”
Steer more generatively
He had noticed that he had to steer somewhat more generatively, a known effect under ReduFuse. But that's not a problem. On the contrary, during a hot dry summer more vegetative production is actually welcome. The coating also requires adjustments to be made to other cultivation measures. “The crop transpires less. We compensate for this by starting the watering later,” says the grower. “Because it is less humid, combined with less heat, theoretically the plants become more resilient. Although it is hard to measure that. We haven’t changed the way we use the biological predators. Actually we only use them as a preventative measure.”
A disadvantage of ReduFuse IR could be that, comparatively, you shade out more light. After a long dark period that could cost production. But even in the darker month of August in 2014, production remained at its maximum. Everything considered Thell is satisfied with his choice of ReduFuse IR and his employees certainly are because it is more enjoyable to work under a diffuse coating. That’s why he’s using the product again in 2015.