How to increase tomato yields per hectare in greenhouses


How to increase tomato yields per hectare in greenhouses

  • The amount of tomatoes that can be grown on one hectare varies greatly between open field and high-tech greenhouse cultivation

Increasing the yield per hectare of tomatoes in greenhouses is one of the challenges faced by many growers around the world. Achieving this goal, in fact, can secure the future of an agricultural business, since by producing more quantity – and even quality, as we will see below – it can direct the sales strategy towards new areas and customers, thus increasing sales considerably.

In this post, we will learn some data about tomato yields per hectare in greenhouses, and also in the open air, and we will also offer some solutions so that growers can opt to improve their production data.

Average tomato consumption

Tomato is a food with great health benefits, which is why it is one of the most consumed foods in the world. Amongst the properties of tomatoes, the following stand out:

  • It is an antioxidant
  • It helps to protect eyesight
  • Improves blood circulation
  • It is anti-carcinogenic
  • Helps to combat constipation
  • It is diuretic and strengthens the immune system

For all these reasons, tomatoes are one of the most popular vegetables. In the United States, for example, it is the second most consumed. The average is 13kg per inhabitant each year, a very important figure that even exceeds the 10kg of tomato consumed by Spaniards each year. However, it remains below the more than 14kg per person per year that will be consumed in the whole of the European Union since 2020.

How to care for tomato plants

Like any crop, tomato plants need specific conditions for optimal growth. Apart from access to irrigation water and sunlight, tomato plants do not grow equally well in different climatic environments. Thus, it freezes when it reaches 2ºC, but stops its development between 10ºC and 15ºC. However, its best development takes place between 20ºC and 24ºC, but the optimum germination occurs between 25ºC and 30ºC.

As can be observed, the tomato plant needs specific temperatures for its adequate growth in its different phases, from the germination of the plant until the harvest. Apart from this, adequate irrigation, well-applied trellising and the use of hydroponics or substrate cultivation improve the yield.

Thus, in order to achieve maximum tomato plant yields, it is necessary to have highly technical and automated greenhouses to reproduce these conditions for tomato plants.

The yield of the tomato plant

How much is a tomato plant capable of producing at most? This is a question that many people ask and there is no single answer to this question, as the optimum yield varies depending on the country and the growing conditions of the plants around it.

However, there are average yields for tomato plants, which are:

  • Quantity of tomatoes per hectare in open field plantations: between 50 and 75 tonnes.
  • Quantity of tomatoes per hectare in low-tech greenhouses: about 120 tonnes.
  • Quantity of tomatoes per hectare in medium-technology greenhouses: between 200 and 250 tonnes.
  • Quantity of tomatoes per hectare in high-tech greenhouses: between 250 and 600 tonnes.

In Spain, for example, around 5 billion kilos of tomatoes are grown annually in an area of around 60,000 hectares. However, the yield of tomato growers is 13 times higher in the Netherlands, and this difference is mainly due to the fact that a higher proportion of high-tech greenhouses with hydroponic or substrate equipment are used in the Netherlands.

LINK: 10 high-yielding tomato varieties for huge harvest

How to improve yields of tomato plants

Alongside the use of high-tech greenhouses, there are other ways to grow tomatoes and increase the average yield. One of them is the use of hydroponic or substrate growing systems. These systems allow greater control over the plants, homogenise their growth and thus improve development rates. Specifically, Hydroponic Systems units have a unique element on the market (patented) that guarantees better results by placing the roots in a privileged position, almost levitating.

How do they do it?

These systems use the Spacer, which is a piece that, using the minimum possible surface area, lifts the substrate bags, moving the roots away from humidity, drainage and leachates. This has a direct positive consequence: it prevents diseases and, therefore, increases the healthiness of the crops and, consequently, the amount of production and profits. In addition, the space between the spacer and the gutter, through which the drains run, favours air flow, so that the roots have better access to aeration and oxygenation, which has a clear impact on their capacity for development.

Examples of hydroponic tomato-growing greenhouses

If you want to improve the performance of your tomato plants in a greenhouse, please contact us or request a no-obligation quote by filling in the form below:

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