Laurence J Betts Ltd – Case Study
Following the award to L J Betts for UK Grower of the Year 2015 (and UK Edibles Grower of the Year – Vegetables, Gold award), Stephen Betts commented to Christopher Pendred, Chairman of Pendred Water & Humidification Systems, that his decision to install a Pendred Tru-fog Crop Hydration System into his new 1000 cu metre cold stores was instrumental in achieving the increased yield and the excellent quality required to win this coveted award.
One obstacle to growth had been the need for a new and larger cold storage facility, which was overcome with the aid of a grant from The Rural Development Programme for England. The grant enabled the business to look forward to further improvements in quality and yield in 2015. This was done with the introduction of glycol refrigeration technology which allowed product to be stored at 0.5 – 1°C and in a high humidity atmosphere filled with an ultra-fine, (1-5 micron droplet) hydrating Tru-fog of purified water.
Stephen Betts commented further, “Having the Pendred Tru-fog system gave us great confidence in our ability to harvest when the product and weather conditions were at their best. It did not take us long to see that ‘Good crops in’ equates to Good produce out’ with Tru-fog Hydration.”
Harvesting when the product is ready, and not when orders demand is referred to by Pendred as ‘Strategic Cropping’. This brings with it other advantages such as the opportunity to avoid expensive week-end, early morning or evening harvesting, significantly reducing cost and overcoming issues with staff availability.
“The ability to harvest each field when the product is at its best is a great advantage and not having to harvest when the field and product is wet, reduces wastage and the need to dry the product. Also avoiding the extremes of hot weather reduces cooling costs and the need to resort to vacuum cooling, furthering de-hydration.
Gentle cooling of crops harvested in good conditions saves money and labour, whilst enabling the product to re-hydrate to full turgidity when necessary in a few hours, then maintaining that almost indefinitely.”
Waste through dehydration is all but eliminated and enables Pendred customers to deliver consistent high quality and all round better product from stabilised stock rather than being rushed off the field to meet demand.
The Pendred Tru-fog system allows harvested produce to naturally hydrate, extending the life of tender leaf from 1-2 days after harvest (with standard DX cooling) to 4-7 days using DX combined with Tru-fog Hydration. The result is similarly impressive for salad and brassica, with life being extended from 10 days up to 21 days.
Tru-fog technology – and the game-changing Strategic Cropping that it enables – smoothens the peaks and troughs of a turbulent and ever-changing season, maximizing yield, quality and as a result, financial return.
Stephen Betts – Laurence J Betts Ltd. Offham, Kent. 12 June 2015