The usage of renewable heating sources in greenhouses is key to achieve sustainability and competitiveness in greenhouse farming. That is why our team approached with great enthusiasm the automation with ONDO of the irrigation, precise fertigation and climate monitoring processes for our first greenhouse customer using geothermal energy for heating – PIRINPLOD greenhouse complex in the village of Levunovo, Sandanski.
PIRINPLOD owns 3 ha of greenhouses in which, thanks to the cost-efficient heating with mineral water coming out at 75°С, there is an all year round growing of pink tomatoes and cucumbers. The farm releases on the market its first crop of early pink tomatoes at the end of March/beginning of April, and keeps growing and supplying vegetables up until Christmas.
The region of Sandanski is famous for its hot mineral water – there are 80+ hot springs with water temperature of up to 85°С! PIRINPLOD is successfully using this renewable natural resource. However, they also need to ensure it is wisely used, so they can keep growing and expanding the greenhouses while counting on the existing water heating capacity.
In addition, throughout the last years there are ever growing restrictions for the usage of drinking water for irrigation needs. The usage of fertilizer is also subject to rincreasing restrictions, on one hand, and on the other – fertilizers become a substantial cost element. These are the reasons why Pirinplod decided to turn to ONDO, aiming to increase the efficiency of the irrigation, precise fertigation and climate monitoring processes in the greenhouses, thus minimizing the usage of natural resources, as well as optimizing the human resources on the farm.
What is the manager and agronomist at PIRINPLOD – Dimitar Traykov – looking to achieve via the integration of ONDO?
“With our ONDO automation we are looking to increase the efficiencies in our farm in several key directions. First, we are looking for much more precise nurturing of the plants, adjusting the EC and pH of the irrigation water to levels that are most optimal and most beneficial for our crop. We are seeking to increase the efficiency of the fertilizer used, which will lead to cleaner produce, on one end, and have an economic benefit for us, on the other..
We are also looking to optimize the human resources used on the farm – right now, since our greenhouse complex is fairly big, we need to hire one person with the mere responsibility of opening and closing of irrigation valves, monitoring the pressure, monitoring the availability of fertilizer, etc. The human factor, however, means increased chance for errors, which negatively impacts the quality and quantity of the crop yield.
Thanks to the option available in ONDO to initiate irrigation only at low soil moisture measured by the soil sensors, we are pursuing very precise usage of the irrigation water resource. And last but not least, for us it is very important to maintain the optimal temperature in the greenhouse, all year round, as well as to be able to trace back the changes in it, for specific past periods, and compare it to the changes in the external environment.”
In the greenhouse complex of PIRINPLOD, ONDO has set up a fully wireless automation of the irrigation and precise fertigation, in all 5 greenhouse premises. Per requirement of the customer, the automation had to be implemented with minimum cabling and digging. Hence, the management of all irrigation valves had been done via the wireless ONDO AIR Point modules. They are not only used to entirely manage the irrigation valves and collect sensor data, but also they were adapted to allow for powering up of the measuring boxes in the greenhouses.
The management of the precise fertigation is done via a 3-channel ONDO Ferti-ON fertigation system, extended with a module for EC and pH control of the irrigation water. The EC and pH control allows to adjust and monitor the target EC and pH level of the water in each growth phase of the plants, thus achieving the best quality of the yield – in terms of taste and preservation times.
The monitoring and control of the climate is done via 7 measuring boxes, which send to ONDO, in real time, the information about the measured temperature and humidity in each greenhouse. Thus the geothermal heating becomes very precise and adjusted per the optimal temperature at any given moment.
Thanks to the weather station that ONDO installed and integrated with the system, PIRINPLOD management can also monitor the parameters of the external environment in real-time and take timely informed decisions. The ONDO weather station also enables the automated protection of the greenhouse construction against strong winds and rain.
We are happy to see innovative farms like PIRINPLOD who are pursuing increased efficiencies and better economic results with ONDO, while ensuring sustainability! Looking forward to our continued work together, and optimizing even more the great results they already achieve. Because the success of ONDO is measured by the success of our customers!