Control Dekk’s controls engineer, Len Logsdon, was recently interviewed on CropTalk with Charlie McKenzie. CropTalk is a popular podcast dedicated to helping today’s agricultural business leaders find the foundational values that lead to success.
Len and Charlie had a rich conversation that dived into OASIS by Control Dekk, why it was developed, and how it’s helping growers across the US and Canada automate hanging basket irrigation successfully and produce higher quality crops.
OASIS – AN ANSWER TO GREENHOUSE HANGING BASKET IRRIGATION CHALLENGES
Len shared, “Being in controls in greenhouses for almost 20 years…I’ve seen a lot of greenhouses struggle with having a correct and uniform [water] pressure that sometimes can be taken care of with pressure regulators and oversizing the supply lines. With cable conveyors, I’ve seen how greenhouses struggle with the switches that activate when the basket goes by. For example, lighter baskets often don’t trip the switch, which results in baskets not being watered. The answer to that is monitoring and adjusting switches on a regular basis. On both the drip and basket cable lines, growers typically sample various baskets on each line. Then they determine when the baskets need to be watered. Then there’s the decision of how long they need to be watered. These are the struggles I’ve seen.”
After seeing these struggles and talking with growers, Len developed OASIS, which works regardless of water pressure and eliminates the need for tabs on conveying systems. Growers are able to determine the optimal hanging basket weight, set that point in the OASIS program, and then turn the line on. OASIS will weigh each basket and water it accordingly to reach that set weight.
Charlie marveled at the consistency achieved using OASIS, “Even if [an] individual has been irrigating hanging baskets by hand for twenty-five years, [if it’s] getting towards the end of the day or getting towards lunch, or maybe they’re tired that day or not feeling great – to think that all of those hanging baskets in their range are going to get irrigated to what the plant needs, it’s hard to believe.”
Len agreed, “The reality is that often optimal soil moisture is unintentionally sacrificed [with traditional irrigation programs] so that all baskets can make it to the next time that someone is available for watering.”
GOOD AUTOMATION DOESN’T CREATE PROBLEMS; IT SOLVES THEM
Charlie and Len also discussed many growers’ poor opinions of and experiences with other greenhouse automation. Len shared, “Being in automation of greenhouses for almost 20 years, I have met and talked to many owners or growers who have had negative experiences with previous automation…Unfortunately that type of automation usually underperforms, leads to lower plant quality, higher energy costs, or higher labor costs…Good automation [however] can be very cost effective, while greatly reducing the amount of human intervention necessary to grow the plants.”
In situations where potential customers are skeptical of the OASIS automation, Len will connect potential OASIS customers with other growers and greenhouses who have successfully used OASIS and are loving it. Len said, “With six years of proven technology and a patented product, that really helps a lot. But that testimony of owners and growers across the US and Canada who have [OASIS] systems that have proven to work out for them without plant loss [and] with a great reduction in labor – putting these people in touch with a prospective buyer really helps a lot.”
Charlie observed, “Irrigating the plants is hugely critical to the plant health, but it’s something that if you’re able to automate, it can become much more objective, and it’s not subjective. That subjectivity is usually what takes these growers all this time in making decisions. Taking that out of it and giving the growers time to go around and do things…scouting and monitoring for pests and pathogens, [it] gives them more time to do that. So I’m absolutely in favor of automating these systems.”
Len went on to share news about Control Dekk’s latest innovation – GENESIS, an automated boom control system that has been on the market for about a year now and is gaining praises for solving common boom irrigation challenges.
To listen to the entire podcast episode, visit the CropTalk website here or search for it in your favorite podcast app. To speak with Len and learn how OASIS can help in your greenhouse, contact us here.