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Step-by-step plan for crop rotation

Crop rotation
Written by Martin Meuldijk | Last update: 21-6-2021

Do you have a step-by-step plan ready for the coming crop rotation? For many cultivators the crop rotation is a hectic time: within a short period of time the old crop is removed from the greenhouse and new cultivation has to start as soon as possible. To make this process go as smoothly as possible, it’s good to work systematically. That is why we have established a step-by-step plan for the crop rotation. By going through each step of this checklist you will be sure you are not forgetting anything!

Step 1: Order tomato hooks

The average delivery time for tomato hooks is 10 weeks. So it is wise to order your hooks as early as possible, so that you can ensure timely delivery of your hooks. Determine which tomato hooks and which twine you want to use and determine then how many boxes/pallets you will need.

Step 2: End signaling

In the month of October most produce companies are in the final phase of cultivation. The biological equilibrium of natural enemies of the crop is nearingits end. It is important that just prior to the crop rotation you seriously disinfect your old crop. That way you prevent the insects from leaving their larvae behind on the greenhouse floors or elsewhere, and disease and pests from remaining which would immediately bother your new crop. In most cases the crops are disinfected with broad spectrum chemical crop protection products.

Step 3: Emptying the greenhouse

There is one rule of thumb in the area of hygiene when emptying the greenhouse: prevent the spread of possible disease and pests throughout the entire work place. Crops can cause possible diseases and pests to be carried from their location and it is important that this does not lead to re-infection elsewhere in your workplace. Be aware of local active disease and ensure crops are disposed of carefully. This prevents problems with new cultivation.

Step 4: Cleaning the greenhouse

When your workplace is empty the cleaning can commence. Cleaning the greenhouse frame and interior equipment happens in various cleaning phases. Keep the product Removit in mind for removal of the remaining chalk or coating residue from the outer side of the glass. Brushing the glass with water is usually sufficient for general cleaning, but you may apply a glass cleaner. The the cleaning of the greenhouse frame begins either with clean water or with products such as Topcleaner or Flusol Forte. Always contact the manufacturer for the appropriate cleaning methed when it comes to diffuse glass.

Step 5: Drip system cleaning during crop rotation

Extra attention should be paid to cleaning your drip system. A biofilm can develop in the watering system in which algae, bacteris, molds and viruses grow. Sediment/fertilizer reactions can cause mineral deposits in the system. This is also a good time to consider the purchase and installation of an ECA-unit. With this you will be able to drip ECA water at the start of your new cultivation and keep the entire water system clean during the cultivation period. For killing and cleaning algae growth outside of the drip system Menno ter Forte is the recommended product. 

Step 6: Greenhouse disinfection

After the visual cleaning of the greenhouse begin the disinfection of the entire greenhouse. Elininating remaining bacteria, viruses, mods and viroids is the most important element of the crop rotation. This is THE moment to deal with inherited diseases and pests from the old crop – for the new crop! Menno Florades is the best choice for disinfection of bacteria, viruses, molds and viroids. This product is capable of killing off mold resting spores , in part due to its long stability and working time.

Step 7: A clean start

It is important to furnish your greenhouse hygienically and cleanly when starting your new crop. This starts by placing films and cultivation substrate. With clean materials from the beginning, diseases and pests will not be transmitted (remember to also disinfect tools like scissors, and film clippers that you will use ). Do not leave anything to chance and ensure the highest rules when it comes to hygiene.

Step 8: Personal hygiene setup

Your employees’ personal hygiene deserves extra attention. Most diseases and pests are transmitted through hands and feet. Depending on your crop and the burden of disease in your business you can either implement personal hygiene very strictly or be more lenient. For simpler personal hygiene consider the cleaning of shoe soles by using Flexxolutions mats at the entrance, guest jackets, overshoes for guests and hand cleaning. Royal Brinkman offers complete hygiene stations for more complex hygiene problems. It is then mandatory to enter the business throught the hygiene station which will guarantee hand and foot decontamination. Examine your hygiene plan and the hygiene protocol for visitors: Is it up to par?

Step 9: Signal beginning

At the start of new, clean cultivation, when the new crop is planted, the placement of new biological pest/disease controls and the signalling of new diseases and pests begins as well. The signalling starts with the hanging of sticky sheets or rolls. Biosignal sheets and rolls are THE product for timely signalling. When the signalling starts the weekly scouting begins as well: Timely signalling and response is the basis for good crop protection.

Do you have questions about Crop rotation?

Any questions regarding the step-by-step plan or would you like tailor-made advice? Contact crop rotation specialist Martin Meuldijk, or fill in the form below. On working days we will contact you within 24 hours.

Martin MeuldijkAbout Martin Meuldijk

Martin Meuldijk has had more than 20 years of experience in the glass horticulture, nationally as well as internationally. Ever since 2016 he has been working at Royal Brinkman as a product specialist for the topics of Crop Rotation and Service Items. He likes to help growers to get the best results from their cultivation. His approach? ";Do what you say and say what you do: that is my motto. I attach great importance to always giving proper and honest advice."

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