Littywood Farm is based in the countryside of Staffordshire in the West Midlands and are very proud of their farming heritage. They desire to grow the very best quality produce and are truly passionate about being one of the leading producers of soft fruit. The reflection of that passion is shown with their business management skills with customers, suppliers and colleagues alike. Littywood Farm started in the soft fruit industry by producing Strawberries and over the years have extended their facilities to include both Raspberries and Cherries, making this an all-round soft fruit business.
“For phase II of Project Substrate at Littywood, the choice of Ripple Aquaplast was a simple one. We just wanted more of the same as 98% class 1 fruit in year one was a great start. Ripple Aquaplast co-operated with our in-house staff so as a ‘team’ we produced our great results.”
Joined the business in 1999. Was originally a top fruit concern. Since 2000 100% soft fruit with a 50/50 split between raspberries and strawberries.
“The NDJ drip systems Aquaplast have supplied are the most accurate on the farm. Their performance in particular on sloping terrain outperforms any other dripper we have. There is zero run off and therefore very uniform crops.”
A significant player in the UK wholesale nursery supply market, Borden Hill can be traced back to the mid 19th century for the Webbs side of the business which was merged with Bransford in 2005. The Tooby family started Bransford in the 1960s. Having justifiably winning Ornamental Grower of the Year 2016.
Geoff Ceasar MD says of Ripple Aquaplast:
“At Borden Hill we have made considerable increases to our growing facilities over the years. Through all of this expansion we have relied upon Ripple Aquaplast for both advice and supply of irrigation equipment. From the smallest repair job needing an overnight supply of fittings to major projects requiring design and technical recommendations Ripple Aquaplast have proved to be a valuable, reliable and cost effective partner for our business.”
Geoff is a Director of the HTA and Chairman of the Ornamentals Committee.
The present owners, David and Stephen McGuffie are third generation at the farm which started in 1960. Known throughout the horticultural industry, New Farm has won a multitude of awards including – Food and Farming Business Award 2013, Grower of the Year Award 2011 for Innovation, 2008 for Turning Science into Practice and 2003 as Soft Fruit Growers. With Paul McGuffie as an established member of the management team, the fourth generation is already in place.
Steve McGuffie says of Ripple Aquaplast:
“Our business is very involved with irrigation trials work, the technical help and support provided by Ripple Aquaplast has been invaluable in this work. Ripple Aquaplast (formerly Aquaplast) have supplied irrigation equipment to New Farm Produce for more than 25 years. They have consistently provided a high service level, giving us the confidence to know that when an emergency arises they respond very promptly. Their technical support has helped us to deliver very efficient irrigation systems for our crops using quality products supplied by Ripple Aquaplast.”
Lower Reule Farm was established in 1976 primarily as a livestock unit. With the growth of strawberries in the later parts of the last century the farm diversified and has now 60.6 hectare of strawberry production of which 53 hectare is intensive table top production.
Charles Kidson, one of the present directors, joined in 2005 and has overseen this significant growth of the business. Charles is also a director and board member of Berry Gardens, the UKs leading berry and stone fruit production and marketing group.
“We started using Ripple Aquaplast about 8 years ago and they have designed and supplied the irrigation for our more recent significant expansion. I find them grower focused, technically astute and not least, competitive. In farming there are always the pressures of time and Ripple Aquaplast have always managed to supply within the timescales set by Lower Reule – even though sometimes it was a close shave! I also feel that they are, like ourselves, a company that does not stand still. They bring on-board new products and new ideas which have served Lower Reule well.”
Robinsons are a large glasshouse nursery producing annual ornamental plants and tomatoes from their 15 acre nursery near Manchester. With a long and successful family history dating back to 1934, Robinsons now have state of the art structures and packing machinery and are continually looking to develop and expand.
Of Ripple Aquaplast, Peter Robinson said:
“We have developed a long term relationship with Ripple Aquaplast and view them as a valued supplier. They have assisted with our recent expansion and the on-going development of our site, supplying industry leading irrigation products delivered on time and always at the right price.”
2 years ago, Burnside Farms started a major undertaking mid-way between Dundee and Aberdeen. Apart from the terrain the water source was over 600m away with sometimes questionable quality. The total suspended solids (TSS) in the water changed when they had heavy downpours.
Their first project of blueberries required the full range of NaanDanJain drippers, PE tube, Yamit filtration, Lowara pump sets and the Gavish fertilisation rig. With just one crop, only two fertiliser legs plus acid were required but due to their quick expansion onto raspberries a further two legs have been added.
On their original project, the simple IBCs were utilised for fertiliser mixing, however, the next project required 4 x 6000 litre tanks. Each has its own water fill and air agitation to keep the tanks filled up and no settlement of chemicals at the bottom. The acid injection leg has also posed problems with a high concentration of acid being delivered. To reduce the peaks and smooth out the control a dilution system automatically mixes water and nitric acid together without human intervention. The ratio can be changed to suit the requirement.
A remote field has also been added to this system and due to the distances involved we installed our two wire decoder unit to allow valve control.
The full Greenline software has been added to a PC to allow full data collection and interrogation.
HHP Manor work on large scale growing with the corresponding large scale irrigation. Their water supplies are reservoirs which typically create very little water pressure to supply the pumping system operating as they do on a volume based pumping system.
Ripple Aquaplast designed a system using a speed controlled 110m³/hr submersible pump to push the water to the crop via a 6″ NaanDanJain automatic back flush 130 micron filter. To power this pump a generator is automatically started by the NDJ Spirit Pro controller. Ripple Aquaplast used an in line fertiliser rig complete with 8 Bar booster pump to allow the addition of fertilisers and acid but without decreasing the system flow rate.
HHP Manor are the first company to utilise a seven fertiliser and one acid venturi injection system with 1000 litre/hour flow rates.
HHP took their irrigation information one step further. They realised that the historical data being created could have an impact on their future irrigation, as such, they invested into a Windows based PC network. The Greenline software interprets and stores all the information in a user friendly format that can be interrogated from any PC, laptop or smartphone with the correct password.
Finally to the field; the terrain created a few problems initially with run down on the drippers even though the NDJ dripper has a 3 closing pressure. The RA team brought their integrated laser measurement system to create a 3d effect of where the field slopes are. With the quick installation of the market leading LPD’s the problem was removed.
New Glasshouse 2018/19
RippleAquaplast Ltd were approached late in 2017 to discuss and propose a complete irrigation solution for a new one hectare glasshouse. The glasshouse was to be constructed on a green field site adjacent to an existing nursery area.
The requirements were as follows:-
- A new pumping system to be located in the existing pump house area
- A new water storage tank
- Pumping and filtration system for the reservoir to fill the above tank
- The ability to dose fertiliser through spray lines and hose watering systems
- Recovery of the drainage water from the existing nursery into a reservoir on the new site
- A new overhead sprinkler system with solenoid valve controller
- Environmental control for four zones including propagation and production areas
- A low level irrigation system (e.g. capillary/sand beds/sub-irrigation)
- A festoon hose system per bay
- Provision of hand watering points
What we did
The following solutions were proposed and implemented:-
- A Lowara variable speed drive (Hydrovar) pumping and header system
- A 24 x 10’ Galvanised water storage tank with EDPM liner and anti-algae cover
- A Lowara submersible pump with water transfer pipe, float switch controlled panel and automatic self-flushing screen filter
- A Tefen fertiliser dosing unit with an on/off selector
- An existing drain was utilised to recover the drain water into the reservoir
- Each glasshouse bay has two spray lines with a sprinkler configuration designed to water half the bay very accurately with limited over spray into adjacent bays
- The vents, screens, heating and sprinkler irrigation are controlled via a bespoke Gavish system
- Capillary sand beds were selected as the low level option with the header system from the new pump having outlets for the float tanks
- Hand watering points were allowed for at appropriate points along the central pathway
The system was installed in late 2018 with a view to being fully operational in early 2019.