Tuesday 26th June 2018
Ball Australia are high volume seedling and plug growers, and their operations is now located on a new state of the art 3.0 hectare site divided into 12 different growing zones.
The growing structure is based on a traditional greenhouse structure but with the inclusion of a double skin polythene cladding giving good thermal properties and excellent light transmission.
Climate control is controlled by a Priva Connext computer, with a predictive capability to ensure accurate and timely operation of the heating, ventilation, and fogging systems. The heating boiler has a CO2 extraction system allowing for elevated CO2 levels for enhanced plant growth rates.
One of the unique features of the structure is the inclusion of a Cabrio style roof house in the hardening off area, where the whole roof surface opens as opposed to individual vents to give plants exposure to outside conditions.
Shade and Energy saving screens, and blackout curtains are installed allowing for a well-managed climate and day length control in specific crop growing areas.
A centralised irrigation room services the needs of the facility, and all water is sterilised via an Ultra Violet treatment process, thus reducing the risk of water borne pathogens. The irrigation system has a number of fertilizer dosing units that operate independently, giving the flexibility to have up to four separate fertiliser recipes on demand, plus fresh water at anywhere across the facility.
The growing area is serviced by a comprehensive mobile bench system which makes for minimal plant handling. The new facility has also seen the installation of irrigation booms that gives precise irrigation to plants. The booms are computer controlled and can be programmed to irrigate specific areas within the greenhouse. The trigger for irrigation control can also be derived from monitoring Vapour Pressure Deficit (VPD). This now means that the irrigation systems are responding to precise climatic requirements, and ultimately giving Ball better growth and response from their plants via this form of precision irrigation
On top of the traditional growing areas, the design has also included the construction of climate managed germination chambers to promote more uniform germination of seedlings, and also a plant quarantine and seed quarantine facility.
Humphris Nursery supplies a wide range of exotics, natives and grasses into the nursery stock retail market.
The production facility has been designed to maximise production output and minimise plant handling.
Plant growing is conducted using a Cravo retractable roof greenhouse. This innovative structure allows plants to experience natural growing conditions and maximum light when the roof is retracted, whilst being able to protect plants against adverse weather conditions and cooler temperatures by closing the roof.
The system can be operated manually but also has a fully automatic capability which ensures plants are given the ideal growing conditions and protection against adverse conditions.
Humphris plant handling systems represents the latest in technology advances in pot growing and materials handling within the Nursery production sector. Automatic potting machines give high levels of output, and plants are automatically moved by a comprehensive system of rotating benches, conveyers and buffer belts, which vastly reduces the needs for human labour. The automation process enables Humphris to efficiently process large numbers of plants from propagation to the growing on areas.
Adding to the plant moving system, Humphris also utilise large scale pot forks that allow for the movement and spacing of large numbers of plants to the growing area.
Plant dispatch is also automated allowing for efficient and timely movements of plants within the sector, which ultimately see on time and effective delivery for customers.