By: Rick Mudde

We were visiting Christian Kalcher’s SmileFruit GmbH in Austria. SmileFruit GmbH has 4 hectares of raspberries and 15 hectares of organic apples. The reason they chose raspberries is to spread the risk and to harvest raspberries between apple harvests. This allows SmileFruit to work with the same staff all year round. This provides security for both the staff and SmileFruit GmbH. The club type is Diamond Jubilee of Berry World.

SmileFruit GmbH has a raspberry farm with 60,000 long cane plants. They make 3 or 4 cultivation rounds to spread the harvest and harvest a long season. Each round has 7 weeks and they harvest every other day. They harvest 4.3 kg per cane and 20 tonnes per hectare. In the autumn round, they still harvest 5 tonnes per hectare. The raspberries are grown in pots in spring and in the ground in autumn. The wires for the cultivation can be pulled up with chains (see photo). They have an experiment in which the raspberries are first grown in pots, while the next crop is already pulled in the soil next to the pots (see photo). Harvesting takes place twice a year. The raspberry is harvested in the autumn with a new planting round and preparation for the harvest in the spring. This experiment is called Go Trou.
SmileFruit GmbH chooses the Powerflex foil system with hail net. They have chosen this because the climate is good and the temperature remains lower than other systems. In addition, the system is the most wind-stable, as experience has shown. The system offers protection against insects by means of the insect net. They also use fleece cloth to make the raspberries earlier, this ensures that the climate is even better under the system because the (cold) wind is stopped. Hail net and foil can be used separately and that gives many advantages. In case of snow hazard they only open the clips of the hail net and the foil remains closed. Due to the elastic band, the film will open mechanically under heavy loads. The Hail is the biggest problem in that region in Austria.

(Gerben van Veldhuizen: Snow hazard in Austria is from October to the end of April,  much longer than in Northern Europe.)

To cool the raspberries they use drip irrigation and pinball. Above 28 degrees they cool the raspberries this ensures that the raspberries are harvested cooler. Cooling improves the climate enormously. Every 10 minutes 1 minute of watering over the system has the best results.

With frost they spray the plants with a row of flippers in case of emergency. This saves a lot of water and costs.

FruitSecurity GmbH has delivered this cover and irrigation to SmileFruit GmbH.

Source: FruitSecurity Holland, FruitSecurity GmbH.

Pictures:
FruitSecurity Holland, Spinazze poles.