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Upside-down tomato cultivation restarted after adjustments

The experiment with upside-down cultivation of tomatoes and cucumbers continues. On January 5, a new tomato crop was planted in the World Horti Center. The cultivation setup is designed by an Israeli team. Biomic Agritech created this system that, under Vertify's supervision, is experiencing a second round of testing.

Several changes have been implemented. For instance, this year, the Merlice variety is used for the experiment. The reason behind this choice is that a ToBRFV-resistant variety last year grew too rapidly for the system. Additionally, the cultivation tubes have been repositioned this year: they are turned 90 degrees and are now placed lengthwise in the greenhouse instead of transverse. In total, there are 8 tubes, allowing for 80 square meters of cultivation space.

The tubes have been placed differently in the 2024 trial

Labor Savings
Nothing has changed in terms of lighting and heating. The lighting and heating are equivalent to a traditional cultivation. At the end of last year's trial, visitors asked questions about this. They would have preferred lighting from below and heating closer to the tubes.

Visitors were also curious to learn more about the labor savings measurements. This year, those measurements will be taken under Vertify's responsibility. The measurements' aim is to find out whether the trial approximates the previously estimated labor savings of up to 50 percent. Eliezer (the initiator of Biomic Agritech and a true technologist) previously stated: "Our first goal is to reduce the amount of labor. In all our trials, the labor savings were more than one-third." His wife, Ronit, is also involved in Biomic Agritech.

Last year's trial suggests that plants quickly adapt to the cultivation method. After this 2023 trial, Jeroen Sanders of Vertify commented: “The top of the plant quickly makes a U-turn. As a result to grows always towards the sun.” Allegedly, the harvest from special cultivation with the Biomic Agritech system could keep up with regular cultivation.

In two to three years, the Israeli company aims to truly enter the market. Their ultimate goal is a fully robot-driven greenhouse. "Unlike existing cultivations, all cultivation operations in our system can be robotized.”

For more information:
Tel.: +972-54-6170172

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