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Steiner: a showcase for sustainability in the vegetable sector

In 2014, the Austrian family-owned company Steiner started growing high-quality produce in Kirchweidach in Bavaria in an entirely sustainable manner. They constructed a greenhouse complex covering 11.8 hectares, in which different varieties of tomatoes and peppers are grown for the local market. Their fresh produce is only available in supermarkets in Bavaria. In 2016, Steiner added a further 7.8 hectares in record time and last year also constructed another 6 hectares for the organic cultivation of cucumbers, peppers, and tomatoes. Since Steiner wants to use every drop of water, they opted for a completely closed irrigation system. Codema designed, developed and installed an irrigation system in which all the water is recirculated. In addition, Codema made sure that all of Steiner’s greenhouse systems are seamlessly connected to each other.

Self-sufficient water balance

The irrigation system designed by Codema makes it possible for Steiner to have a self-sufficient water balance. Both the rainwater collected on the roofs and the condensation from the greenhouse are reused. All the drain water is added to the irrigation. Sustainable growing includes a sparing use of water.

Fully controlled disinfection

Steiner uses low-pressure UV disinfection to treat the rainwater and drain water. All bacteria and viruses are killed by the two low-pressure UV units installed by Codema. Steiner chose this system because it is fully automated and secure, the temperature of the water remains virtually unchanged during the process, and the composition of the nutrients and the pH level are unaffected.

6 hectares of organic cultivation

Since the start of 2019, Steiner has been growing organically in a 6 ha farm. “Organic growing demands an extremely accurate approach, as you can’t correct anything,” says Josef Steiner. An overhead sprinkler and drip irrigation system was set up for the 6 hectares of organic cultivation of cucumbers, peppers, and tomatoes. Codema installed a spray pipe with special sprinklers above the soil, which ensures that the roots grow in width and absorb the water well. An additional advantage is that the walkway stays dry. The organic fertilizers are well absorbed by the soil and the roots display healthy growth. Codema also supplied the climate computer and the electro-technical installation for Steiner, so that all the greenhouse systems (e.g. heating, lighting, fans, etc.) function as a single integrated whole.

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