The theme of the tour was ‘Efficient use of resources in the protected ornamentals sector’ and over the two days, attendees visited six South coast businesses, including bedding and pot plant nurseries and the Farplants distribution centre.
The primary aim of the AHDB/ADAS tour was to expose newer nursery technical staff members to a wide range of businesses, providing them with an appreciation of the protected ornamentals sector within the UK.
Among highlights were seeing Cobbins Nursery biomass boiler and conveyor system at the pot plant production nursery.
At Farplants Distribution Centre, opened in 2011, delegates saw the 8,000sqm centre, which supplies
800 garden centres, with the capacity to handle 300,000 units per day, using a QR code system,
combined with wireless hand scanners to collate and dispatch orders quickly and efficiently with good quality control.
The Roundstone Newlands site is one of six sites, covering nine ha, which in 2014, switched to peat-free production for B&Q, using coir blocks in a biodegradable plastic punnet.
Hill Brothers indoor flowering pot plants' newest production facility has a a modern, twin-walled, plastic house with an Erfgoed flood floor, was completed in 2014, with 93 per cent of the water used is rainwater harvested from the roof, and re-cycled.
Double H, produces pot mums and Phalaenopsis orchids, and is in the process of transitioning from Begonia, Poinsettia and Campanula, to pot rose production. The 6 ha site, with its 3 ha of high-tech
glasshouse structures, was heated by a 4.9 MW biomass boiler, commissioned in 2015, Hawe mobile bench systems, Hawe and WPS spacing robots, automatic boom spraying and watering, and Robur semi-automatic boom sprayers.
Pinetops Nurseries has recently transferred to the old Efford EHS site at Lymington. 2 ha of new glass had been constructed, complete with biomass heating and labour saving equipment such as mobile ebb and flood benches, and automatic systems for setting down pots and cleaning benches to help produce Poinsettia, pot grown Lilies and Hellebores.