An investment order tool to guide development of greenhouse horticulture for two specific regions

C. Blok*, R. Leyh, E.J. Baeza Romero, E.A. van Os, C. van der Salm

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Growers worldwide often lack means to find the economically soundest order of investing. Authorities face similar problems when deciding which developments to stimulate. For Dutch greenhouse horticulture, models for production, climate, revenue and costs, allow selection of an optimal investment order. This approach was widened into “Adaptive Greenhouse Methodology” which allows evaluation of worldwide climate and greenhouse technology combinations. However, running the models requires expert skills. Our goal was to deliver a simplified software tool, which would allow horticultural suppliers, researchers and growers to autonomously rank alternative investments, for a specific combination of region, greenhouse design and crop. The Investment Order Tool was developed in cooperation with selected horticultural supply companies for the regions Almeria in Spain and the Jordan Valley. In Spain, a flat roofed Parral type greenhouse was compared to an industrial multi-span greenhouse. In Jordan a single tunnel greenhouse was compared to an industrial multi-span greenhouse with passive crop based cooling. The Investment Order Tool uses a one-time run of the Adaptive Greenhouse Methodology based on local information. This data set allows further off-line calculations. All adaptions in greenhouse construction and cultivation system are defined as relative production changes from the local standard. The adaptations are provided with their specific costs and benefits. The investments compared include: reverse osmosis; substrates; nutrient dosing; climate-adapted cultivars; recirculation of drainage water; ventilation capacity; shading screens and thermal screens. The Investment Order Tool informed growers on the investment order with the highest return on investment and the investment order with the lowest demand for capital. Nursery specificity was realized by permitting user defined yield and market price level per month and by defining a first and second class for product quality. It is hoped the Investment Order Tool encourages growers and local authorities to base investment decisions on increasingly solid knowledge.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-34
Number of pages8
JournalActa Horticulturae
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020


  • Cultivation system
  • Decision support
  • Economics
  • Greenhouse type
  • Mediterranean


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