More yield thanks to special container for tulip cultivation

In close cooperation with the Dutch producer of tulips, Mopableom and Agrifirm-GMN, bekuplast developed a special container for growing tulips. With the new tulip containers, Mopabloem was able to increase its yield by 20%.

Automation as an opportunity and a challenge

The market for tulips is highly competitive. In addition, increased labour and energy costs made the situation even more difficult. For this reason, Mopabloem decided to look into the feasibility of fully automated planting. Coen Haakmann, operations manager at Mapobloem, reports: "We made extensive calculations and came to the conclusion that we could not profitably implement fully automatic planting with our standard 40 x 60 cm planting machines. This conclusion gave us the idea to adapt our containers." Together with its container supplier Agrifirm-GMN, with whom Mopabloem has worked closely for many years, this idea was made concrete. John Vriend of Agrifirm-GMN explains, "We immediately recognised the scale of this challenge. We came to the conclusion that we needed a technical partner who, like us, wanted to focus on customisation and innovation." So Mopabloem and Agrifirm-GMN decided together to bring bekuplast on board as a provider of customised container solutions for this project.

In an intensive process, Mopabloem, Agrifirm-GMN and bekuplast jointly developed the new container concept. All process steps of the tulip cultivation were considered in detail in order to develop the optimal container. 

The result: Efficient container for higher yields

The new tulip containers were delivered in August 2022. At 860 x 630 mm, the dimensions of the special containers offer more space for tulip bulbs of different sizes. At the same time, the dimensions fit the existing cultivation system with growing tables, which came from a Bromelia nursery and was taken over by Mopabloem. This meant that the company did not have to invest in new planting tables in the course of automation.
After sorting the bulbs, they are pricked onto small prickers in the bottom of the container. Due to the optimised piercing shape, the planting area of the new containers has been considerably enlarged. 

The bulbs remain in the container until the tulips are harvested. The openwork structure of the container ensures optimal air circulation and temperature control of the flower bulbs in the cold rooms where they rest before entering the greenhouse. 

The bulbs are also watered in the container. For this purpose, the tulip containers have a water overflow. A sprinkler system irrigates the tulip bulbs from the top to the bottom container in the stack. In order to withstand the high weight of the water quantities, the containers are extremely resilient in the sensitive corner area.

After the tulips have been harvested, the durable and easy-to-clean plastic containers are cleaned fully automatically and reloaded with new tulip bulbs.
A total of 75,000 containers are in use at Mopabloem. With the more efficient containers, Mopabloem has been able to increase its capacity from 65 to 80 million tulips per season. This corresponds to a higher yield of around 20 %.

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