Economical evaluation of greenhouse layout design Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • This paper offers mutual exchange of knowledge and expertise between agriculture and production-economy by economical evaluation of greenhouses. Greenhouses are Hi-Tech horticulture farms, in which advanced technological infrastructure increase production efficiency by providing optimal growing conditions. However, this infrastructure involves high capital investments. There are other cost sources, of which labor is dominant, generally in horticulture and in greenhouses in particular. Efficient use of space and labor are often conflicting goals in greenhouse layout design. In this paper, these conflicts are presented and illustrated, and tools are developed to evaluate layout design by the resultant annual operational profit, thus enable comparison of alternative layouts. To increase accessibility, spreadsheet software is used for the calculations. Further, the spreadsheet is designed to support WHAT-IF analyses. The applicability of the proposed approach is demonstrated via numerical analyses of layout design of an actual greenhouse for pepper growing using the Holland method. Evidently, the layout design can have significant effect on the economical efficiency of the greenhouse--annual profit increases by, at least 12%, and up to 40%! The tradeoff between space utilization and resource utilization; e.g., labor, is common to all greenhouses, whether vegetables, flowers or other plants are grown in them and the tools presented herein can be easily modified to any desired case.

publication date

  • January 1, 2011