Tag Archives: farm planning

Tips for Winter Greenhouses

Greenhouses are an important way to grow crops outside of the usual growing season and a great way to increase yields. Canada has a unique climate, and as such special care is required when establishing a greenhouse, large or small that will produce a good return for the owner.

Windows

Light is required to grow any plant, so choose a material that lets lots of light through. A good rule of thumb is a material that allows at least 70% of light through. Insulation performance will drop as transparency increases. It’s important to balance light transmission with the R-value (the thermal resistance) of the material.

Insulation

Many greenhouses are transparent on all sides. A cold climate greenhouse may not be fully transparent because conserving heat is a priority. Winter nights are dark and cold and temperatures need to be managed.

Installing windows on the side facing the sun, allows the other sides and the roof to be insulated. The ground underneath the greenhouse should also be insulated. The heat that collects in the earth during the day, shouldn’t be allowed to just disappear out into the ground. The windows themselves can be insulated with removable shades after dark.

Ventilation

Cold climate greenhouses are designed to provide optimal growing conditions during the winter.  As a result, they can get too hot in the summer. It’s important to install proper ventilation into the greenhouse that provides enough ventilation during those hot summer days.

Thermal Mass

Thermal mass will harvest and store the warmth of the sun during the day and release it back at night to heat the greenhouse. This minimizes temperature fluctuations in the greenhouse and will prevent the temperature from dropping during cold nights.

Common materials can provide thermal mass: water, stone, cob, or even the earth itself. Water can be a risky choice because it can freeze, but it’s also one of the most flexible thermal mass materials because you can easily add or remove containers fo water.

There are two ways to take advantage of thermal mass: heating the air or heating the growing beds. The energy required is lower to heat only the growing beds but can be harder to install or modify.

Active Heating

In addition to thermal mass distributing heat, and the rays of the sun working to heat a greenhouse during the day, on cold days and during the night your greenhouse may require additional heat. Often Wood burning solutions or propane heaters can be good choices, as they are equally easy to install in remote areas.

 

Cost

Commercial scale greenhouses are not cheap to build. A solar panel system can have a payback time of years. A four-season greenhouse should be simlar in terms of payback time.  Long-term production yield will be higher, as the greenhouse allows longer growing season but also a kind of insurance against weather risks.

When you are ready to expand your greenhouse business or start a new agricultural production facility,

The Canadian Grants Business Center can help.

Contact us Toll-Free at 1-888-231-0075 or Contact us now to find out more!

Tile Drainage on the Farm

Tile drainage installations increase yields

Properly installed tile drainage can consistently increase crop yields on farms by 29 to 36 percent.

Tile drainage installation is not cheap. Installation can cost up to $1,000 an acre or more depending on the property, but tile drainage is a proven way to boost production and revenue potential from your existing land base.  A comparison of tile drainage costs versus new land purchase price, make tile drainage a great value with land prices at an all time high.For high-value crops and productive land, tile drainage should be considered an essential capital investment to reduce risk and ensure optimal yields.

Not just about yields

The benefits of tile go beyond yields. With less surface runoff occurring, soil losses can be reduced by 90%. Tile releases water slowly and over a long period of time.

There are tax advantages to tile installs. Tile drainage costs are fully deductible in the current tax year, or you can maximize the benefit by carrying all or part of the expense forward for up to five years.

Shifts in production practices across Canada over recent years make tile drainage even more valuable to Canadian farmers. Reduced tillage and no-till planting techniques along with earlier planting seasons make it essential to have fields that dry quickly and uniformly. Closely spaced tile can also help minimize compaction common with wet sections in spring and fall.

Self-installed tiling

GPS technology and computer software that takes land elevations into account have made it easier to efficiently map out how tile runs should be oriented to maximum drainage efficiency. The same tools professionals use to map a tile install are available to those who want to do their own tiling with a pull-type tile plow.

Tile plows can be pulled with a tractor. Horsepower requirements depend on soil type and how deep the tile needs to go. A tractor weighing 30,000 pounds or more and a minimum of 200 horsepower are needed for the task. Having a plow lets a farmer get the tile in at the optimal time and you do the least amount of damage and compaction, wihtout having to wait for a contractor to fit in a tight schedule. Owning a plow also allows a farmer to put a short run in to solve a problem spot on demand.

The right drainage installation can help keep the property in top shape. Farmland improvement costs can be substantial, and it’s important to take advantage of all sources of funding available to your farm. Start or expand your farming business now: the Canadian Grants Business Center can help.

Contact us Toll-Free at 1-888-231-0075 or Contact us now to find out more!