A Mobile Gully System (MGS) consists of a growing field in which the growing plants (lettuces, herbs, ...) automatically move, in plant gullies, from the planting area to the harvesting area. While moving along the growing field, the space between gullies widens in order to provide an optimum space for the plant in each stage of growth.
MGS is always fully adapted to the specifications of the greenhouse, the chosen crop, the chosen substrate, local climatic conditions and the wishes and needs of the grower. A MGS can be kept small and simple, with manual putting of the plants in the gullies, harvesting on the gullies in each bay and a return of the gullies above the growing field. But a MGS can also be designed for a large scale operation with a centralised robot that puts the plants in the gullies, a centralised harvesting station and a centralised return of empty gullies beneath the growing field.
Hortiplan has developed and will continue to develop machinery for automation of processes besides the growing (planting, harvesting, sorting & grading, packing).
All processes involve a minimum of actions and are ergonomic (adapted to the physionomy of the workers) with the result that it is possible to work with fewer workers who have fewer physical complaints.
After the harvest the gullies are being cleaned automatically.
In some countries, growers buy their young plants. In other countries, growers produce the young plants themselves. The substrates used can be peat, rock wool, polyurethane foam, coco coir, oasis or any other substrate.
In each case it is important to have the plants at the highest possible density at all time during the growing process. Therefore, installing a tray field as a form of prolonged nursery before putting the plants in the gullies can be an option.
The plants are fed by means of a ‘Nutrient Film Technique’ (NFT) recirculating water system. Water with nutrients is being injected in the gullies. While moving over the growing field, the gullies always end up in front of a water inlet. As the gullies are on a slope, the water moves through the gullies by gravity.
Different valve groups allow for the right nutrient recipe and the right amount of water to be given at any stage of the growing cycle. Recirculating water is being disinfected after each run. This is done in order to prevent waterborne diseases.