Red Roofs Nursery

Turnkey project for Chris Durnford completed on time and on budget

Increasing demand for quality UK grown tomatoes gave Chris Durnford of Red Roofs Nursery in East Yorkshire the confidence to invest in a 700 sq m packhouse and 16,660 sq m of fully fitted new glass with 6 metre posts. The project is the result of close co-operation between Certhon, who took care of the glasshouse and heating, and CMW who supplied and installed all the equipment and managed the whole project.


Chris Durnford is very happy with the outcome. 'It's refreshing to deal with companies who listen to your ideas and provide expert guidance at every stage of the design and build process. When that happens, you end up with a glasshouse that will enable you to grow in exactly the way you want.' says Chris.

Energy saving will result from installation of both overhead and side screens, controlled by an extended and updated Priva Intégro computer. Research has shown that one of the most important factors contributing to high production is the creation of an even glasshouse environment, without cold or hot spots. Side screens around the glasshouse perimeter prevent cold spots in the outer rows, apex seals above the trusses eliminate the movement of cold air above the energy screen and a Priva fan tube system under the crop gutters ensures even distribution of heat in the crop. The overhead screen is fitted with Svensson Luxous flame retardant material that will deliver 47% energy saving along with class leading light transmission, so that Chris will be able to close the screen during part of the day as well as through the night to improve energy efficiency even further.

The heating and irrigation for the new block has been fully integrated with the existing 24,000 sq m of glasshouses and heating system (including boiler and CHP) to create a total of six zones, enabling Chris to produce the range of tomato varieties that his marketing company requires in the ideal climate and irrigation conditions for each. Two new tanks have been connected to the existing buffer system to provide an additional 300m3 of heat storage and create two open buffer systems working in tandem. This unusual configuration, controlled by the Priva computer, was designed by Certhon to make the best use of the system already in place before the new house was built. The control system was commissioned and monitored by Gordon Badham of CMW who has worked closely with Chris throughout the project. Other than the new tanks, no extra heating capacity was installed, so it is imperative that the existing heat sources are used efficiently.

In the pump house, two new Priva dosing rigs are connected through welded HDPE underground mains to the irrigation in the houses via valve manifolds that allow any combination of the six zones to be supplied from either or both of the rigs, giving both flexibility and security. ‘The new pump house setup means that I now have the option to vary irrigation timings, quantities and EC in every zone according to the tomato variety and stage of growth.’ says Chris.

The drain collection, recirculation and slow sand filter disinfection system originally installed by CMW in 2007 has also been extended to accept the increased capacity.

Getting the harvested produce to the new packhouse efficiently is a top priority, so an internal transport system now links the packhouse to both the new and existing glass, while a new fleet of electric double hydraulic platform trolleys for crop work and a Quattro scissor maintenance trolley will ensure maximum efficiency in the crop rows. A spray robot, scheduled for delivery in February, will considerably reduce labour and chemical costs for crop protection at Red Roofs Nursery.

Click on the thumbnails in the gallery below for larger images of various stages of the project:

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