Thursday 10th August 2017
Anyone seeing the dedication of UK growers in nurturing flower and salad crops for the recent Royal Horticultural Society Flower Shows will have glimpsed how complicated the process of optimising crops in and out of season can be.
Whether it is for fruit, salad or flower crops, low carbon LPG is proving to be a versatile energy source for UK greenhouses and professional growers that are located off the gas grid.
From providing consistent and reliable warmth, to eradicating frost and powering irrigation systems, LPG is a compelling alternative to diesel, helping to reduce both costs and emissions. It also offers farmers a chemical-free option for burning off weeds.
Watching the gardening programmes over the summer and visiting country and gardening shows, I was struck by how often growers, both professional and amateur, mention the word consistency. No matter how small or large scale their operations, when cultivating their prize-winning crops the growers all relied heavily on being able to ensure consistent temperatures that could be controlled to speed up or slow down growth to deliver produce or flowers that were at their peak for showing.
If you are a commercial grower supplying perishable crops, whether flowers, peppers or tomatoes, an element of control, especially when you need to deliver crops to meet seasonal demands, can make LPG an invaluable part of your armoury.
Widely available off the gas grid, low carbon LPG provides highly controllable humid heat to crops with no harmful by-products. Highly valuable, in a country where temperatures, even in summer, are anything but predictable.
LPG can be used to fuel a range of systems from direct fired heaters that provide economical and efficient frost protection in the winter, or fresh unheated air in the summer for ventilation, through to cabinet heaters that can boost temperatures by 10-15ºC without damaging crops.
Another option is radiant heaters that can directly warm a precise location by radiating infrared heat. No heat is wasted nor do they circulate dust, so they are ideal when a clean atmosphere is required.
With low running costs, LPG is a clean burning fuel that can help growers wherever they are and whatever climate conditions they face, to prosper and grow.
That's bloomin' marvellous!
By Rob Shuttleworth, Chief Executive, UKLPG
The trade association for the LPG and bioLPG industry in the UK