After years of rapid expansion, North American growers appear to have shifted their focus. Nowadays, the key emphasis is on optimizing their existing businesses, often achieved through automation solutions. This trend is driven by several factors, including increased competition in the market, high labor costs, a shortage of available labor, and limited opportunities for facility expansion.
This will be seen today and tomorrow during the Canadian Greenhouse Conference and was also visible during the bus tour, a traditional prelude to the event, during which several growers were visited who demonstrated how they are embracing the challenge of automation. Whether it's implementing robotics and automation in cultivation, energy systems, internal transport, packaging, or any other aspect of their operations, these growers are clearly willing to invest in their businesses as long as it leads to greater efficiency and streamlining.
The bus tour last took place in 2019 and experienced cancellations due to the pandemic. Despite its absence for some years, it drew significant attendance once again. Alongside visits to Sunrise Greenhouse, Freeman Herbs, Beverly Greenhouses, and Terra Greenhouses, participants also explored the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre.
Something new can be discovered in every corner of Sunrise Greenhouse, whether it's new varieties, techniques, robots, banker plants... More to follow!
How beautiful greenhouses can be. During the tour, the group had the opportunity to explore the aesthetics of Freeman Herbs' facilities, particularly the banker plants nestled beneath photovoltaic panels integrated into the greenhouse roof. This innovative trial represents a fusion of both cultivation and energy production.
Efficiency is key at Beverly Greenhouses, where Dale VanderHout and Jan VanderHout showed the group around the family-owned company.
The bus tour was concluded at Terra Greenhouses.
A more comprehensive report on the bus tour will be available later on, but first, it's time for the Canadian Greenhouse Conference itself, taking place today and tomorrow in Niagara.