American Clay Works & Supply Co.
857 Bryant St.
Denver, CO. 80204
Time is passing to start enduring change.
We must start to create change.
Markets change – Our industry experienced
tremendous growth in the 90’s and first part of the 21st
5 to 6 years ago, market began to flatten.
3 years ago, market began to dip.
Still a good market, with a huge exposure to retail
A need to look outside the traditional box.
What worked last year, may not work next year.
This presentation is about looking outside the box at
some different ideas.
Ministry of Agriculture of Spain
Almeria, Spain – Extension Service
This area – 54 miles long x 10 ,miles wide
Conference March 30‐April 4, 2009
Representatives from United States, Chile, Mexico, and
History – 40 years ago, government of Spain realized
it did not have enough land to grow food for its
Faced with a decision, grow their own food, or import
Tried a new approach, growing food in greenhouses.
After many failures, they came upon a formula that
Location – Almeria is located on the southern coast of
Greenhouse food production
27,000 Hectacres (67,500 acres) of greenhouse
37% flat roof
5% gutter connect
Greenhouse heating not necessary
Structures are simple, mostly covered with polyfilm.
The formula that works.
NGS Technology (New Growing Systems)
NGS consists of 3 parts
1st part – Multilevel Trough Technology
2nd part – Fertigation
3rd part – Specialized fertilizer
These systems combined provide enormous harvest
rates per square foot of greenhouse.
1 acre of NGS is equal to 4.4 acres of growing in the
NGS Technology uses 60 to 70 % less water.
NGS is simply defined as: The movement of water to
the right place at the right time in the right amount
with the correct blend of fertilizers and nutrients.
NGS ‐ The main advantage of the NGS system over
other forms of hydroponics is that the plant roots are
exposed to adequate supplies of water, oxygen and
nutrients. In all other forms of production there is a
conflict between the supply of these requirements,
since excessive or deficient amounts of one results in
an imbalance of one or both of the others.
Savings are significant.
This is possible because plants are not in soil but a
nutrient rich solution that is constantly monitored by
sophisticated software or by the growers experience.
These advancements allow this area to produce more
food in less acreage using less water.
Multilevel Trough Technology (NGS)
Different sizes for different crops
Second level membrane – very strong
The main advantage of multilevel trough technology
is that the plant roots are exposed to adequate
supplies of water, oxygen and nutrients.
Vegetable oils as a nitrogen source
Humic acid & amino acids
Chemically sequestered micro nutrients
Non organic fertilizers are supplemented with urea
and ammonium sulfate.
The proper mixing of nutrients in the correct amount
Monitored manually or with software
Fertigation – more money is spent on this than on the
270 Growers and Cooperatives
Gross production 1, 450,000,000 Euros annually
Government is not encouraging more space but more
90% of the production is exported to Europe
10% used locally
Planting in the Greenhouse
Primaflor –largest grower in Andulusia
10,000 acres in hydroponic food production is equal to
40,000 acres in ground planting for lettuce
60‐70% reduction in water use
Lettuce –germination to harvest 90 days
Cherry tomatoes – 18 kilos per square meter/year
Strawberries –plant in September, harvest in
November, 7 kilos per square meter
Primaflor grows both in greenhouse and open field.
All crops are grown hydroponically.
Primaflor grows 82 varieties of lettuce.
Primaflor grows strawberries, eggplant, and peppers.
Primaflor propagates, grows, packages and distributes
its products through the Primaflor distribution chain.
Primaflor has an extensive research facility.
Government encouraging more efficiency, not more
Moving multilevel trough horizontally
Moving multilevel trough vertically
Portable multilevel trough technology
70% ‐ traditional growing methods
30% ‐ organic growing
Yield 30% less in organic operations vs. traditional
Strong economy organics sell for approximately 30%
more than traditionally produced crops
Slow economy – no difference in selling prices
5‐6 month rotation
Organic tomatoes, yield 6‐7 kilos per square meter
Traditional/conventional 10‐11 kilos per square meter
9 month rotation
Organic tomatoes, yield 11‐12 kilos per square meter
Traditional/conventional, 18‐19 kilos per square meter
All crops (traditional and organic) are pollinated by
3‐4 people per hectacre
Definition of Organic Crops
No application of pesticides and growth regulators
Use of natural fertilizers with conventional
European organic growing standards are less restrictive
than those in the United States.
Research is conducted by IFAPA Institute for the
Development of Agriculture and Fish production for
100% government funded, similar to USDA
IFAPA – 14 hectacres of greenhouse and row crop
ALGAE PRODUCTION for FOOD
2 PRODUCTION SYSTEMS
Main ingredients in each system
Algae – Scenedesmus Almeriensis
Nutrients – sodium bicarbonate, potassium sulphate
ALGAE PRODUCTION FOR BIOFUEL
Algae – Murellopsis
Higher level of fatty acid
Nutrients ‐ sodium bicarbonate, potassium nitrate
CO2 & Water
Production in vertical bags or open troughs
Yield ‐ One 10x6 foot unit 80 grams per day
IFAPA and Cajamar provide funding for research
CAJAMAR – local bank specializes in funding
agricultural research and production
Past 5 Years in USA
Changes in available water, labor and transportation
Changes force food production to decline in the
traditional field production
Concerns of importing foods
NFT Technology in combination with co‐operatives and
a dedicated banking system have made this area one of
the most productive areas in the world.
Could this be a possible emerging market?
Spanish government and growers have shown high
yield in crops grown in greenhouses with
Reduced water usage
Less transportation costs with crops grown locally or