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Strawberry farmers could increase profit margins by hiring heaters

British soft fruit farmers, particularly those growing strawberries under glass or polytunnel protected coverings, could significantly increase their profit margins if they hired industrial heaters, according to Andrews Sykes. The company has been working alongside a number of strawberry farmers and where high volumes of clean, dry, warm air are supplied, the plants have delivered a final crop, late in to the Autumn.

According to Andrews Sykes, the UK strawberry industry has seen vast changes in the past 20 years, mainly due to the introduction of polytunnels, in which the majority of British strawberries are grown. Not only does the covering allow farmers to extend their growing season from a number of weeks to several months, allowing them to compete with farmers in warmer climes, but the amount of pesticides are also reduced.

Steve Reeve, Sales Director at Andrews Sykes said: “As any soft fruit farmer knows, growing strawberries is a seriously time and resource-intensive industry, and so it makes sense to maximise the yield per plant. Now that most farmers produce fruit using polytunnels, it is simple and easy to install temporary heating equipment under this covering, which allows the growing season to be extended further.”

He continued: “UK consumers are increasingly concerned about the sustainability and environmental impact of their food, and where possible they prefer to buy British. This is particularly true of the strawberry market where British fruit is also regarded as being sweeter than overseas imports. Therefore it makes absolute sense for strawberry farmers to produce as much fruit as they can for the home market.”

According to Andrews Sykes, the most suitable heaters are either in-direct gas- or oil-fired heaters as both are appropriate for use at remote sites where there is little available power load. They are also most suitable for applications such as strawberry farming, where there is a necessity for air movement but where there is limited ventilation. Both in-direct gas- or oil-fired units can deliver huge volumes of clean, dry, fume-free heat safely and economically.

Reeve concluded: “Hiring rather than buying units is more economical approach for strawberry farmers as they only need to employ the units for a short period of time every year. By hiring, the farmer will ensure that equipment is fully serviced and appropriate to their requirements with no need to store or upgrade units, year on year. And should we be lucky enough to experience an Indian summer, they may not need to hire the units at all.”

by S. C.
28 september 2011, World News > Europe