As one of the oldest tunnel companies in South Africa, Dicla Horticulture (Pty) Ltd manufactures and supplies greenhouse tunnels in various sizes and forms to the upcoming and the commercial farmer. our structures are made only of high quality, pre-galvanized, 2mm thickness steel tube, and the design is developed for the South African circumstances.
Not only do we supply tunnel and shadenet structures, but we also cover a whole range of vegetable farming related products, including tunnel plastic, drip- and overhead irrigation, trellising equipment, fertilizers and a whole lot more.
Let us know how we can help you grow vegetables!
Background on Tunnel Farming
A farming tunnel is a structure, usually semi-circular, square or elongated, made of steel pipes and covered in polyethylene plastic in which crops can be grown, either directly in the soil or in containers with a soil-less growing medium (also known as hydroponics).
The interior of the tunnel heats up because incoming solar radiation from the sun warms the soil, plants and structures in the tunnel faster than heat can escape the structure. Tunnels thus provide a higher temperature and/or humidity than that which is naturally found in the environment.
Various crops can be grown successfully in tunnels such as tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet peppers, lettuce, spinach, cabbage, cauliflower, strawberries and even flowers.
Why choose tunnel farming?
Compared to open field farming, tunnel farming has many advantages and benefits. Listed below are some of the main factors.
Because tunnels are covered in plastic, they provide a controlled growing environment or climate. The main concept of growing under climate control is to create optimal growing conditions by controlling temperature (through ventilation, heating and cooling systems), humidity (through irrigation) and light (through plastic coverage). Tunnels also provide protection against the elements and extreme weather, like frost, heat, wind and hail.
Increased Crop Yield
A greater number of plants can be planted in a tunnel than on open land, because of factors such as space needed for tractors, harvesters etc. This means that even small spaces can be utilized for tunnel farming. Additionally to this, the protected environment created by the tunnel a higher yield can be produced.
Irrigation in the tunnels can be strictly controlled and applied only when and where it is needed, resulting in a lot less water wastage. This in turn means a financial saving for the farmer and also increases the sustainability of the crop. Because South Africa often experiences serious drought, farmers are at great risk of losing their entire crop. Farming in a tunnel means being able to control irrigation even in times of drought, and can be the difference between crop failure and success.
Protects against Pests and Diseases
The controlled environment of a tunnel provides protection against many natural pests such as birds and insects. Diseases and fungus are are also minimized by controlling moisture levels in the tunnel and by spraying certain pesticides (herbicide, fungicide and insecticide).
Extends Growing Season
Perhaps one of the most important advantages of tunnel farming is that cops can be grown out of season. For example in some parts of the country tomatoes can only be grown in the warmer months. By planting in tunnels, extreme temperatures can be controlled. A farmer can thus plant tomatoes all year round, or at least for the largest part of the year. Being able to provide produce to the markets out of season means getting higher prices.
The substrate is the substance from which an organism (or plant) obtains its nourishment. In the case of tunnel farming, the substrate can either be the soil or some soil-less medium such as pine sawdust. The quality of the substrate can be controlled by fertilization, which can increase plant growth and productivity.
Saves cost on Fertilizers
As with water, fertilizers can be better controlled in a setup. The fertilizer is mixed into the irrigation system allowing greater accuracy in dosage and distribution.
In short, the combined benefits of these factors is ultimately healthier plants, higher productivity and better crop quality. By being able to control some of the risk factors associated with farming, tunnel farming can be more financially viable than other conventional methods, if managed properly.
PRODUCTS & SERVICES
Besides tunnel and Net Structures, Dicla supplies a wide range of items for vegetable farming.
Dicla and Vatan Plastic (Turkey) has been proud suppliers of the highest quality, durable tunnel plastic that's perfectly adapted to the South African market.
Our 200-micron, double layer polyethylene, Multisolar Plastic is not only UV treated, but it also comes with a 36-month lifespan, is antibacterial, infra-red thermal treated and light-diffusing, and offers durability by being extra supple and workable. Our plastic offers a light transmission of 77.6% and a diffused light transmission of 56%.
Trusted by many a farmer around the country, Dicla's plastic comes in various widths, including 6.8m wide, 7.5m wide, 9.5m wide, 11.5m wide and 14.5m wide. Our plastic is cut to whichever length is desired.
Agricultural Shadenet, when used correctly, offers not only crop protection, but also boosts production, and temperature control.
Dicla's standard stock range of nets includes 20% white in 3m and 6m widths, 40% grey and 80% black agricultural shadenet.
Sourced locally or imported, Dicla stocks only the highest quality nets.
Click here to view the Agricultural Shadenet Guideline Chart.
Dicla supplies a wide range of irrigation items. This includes, but is not limited to: Junior Drip Line Irrigation, Arrow Drip Systems for Vertical Growing and Sprinkler Systems. Dicla also builds and supplies pump stations and filter systems.
Dicla stocks a wide range of Low Pressure and High Pressure Irrigation Fittings for commercial and garden irrigation. Furthermore we offer a wide range of Class 3 and Class 6 LDPE and HDPE pipes.
For driplines, Dicla has partnered with Afriq Water. Be on the lookout for their distinctive Blue and Orange stripes when stocking up on high quality drip systems. Dicla also stocks JoJo tanks.
Contact us today for all your irrigation solution.
Cifarelli Mist Blowers
We are proud sole importers in South Africa of Cifarelli Mist Blowers. The Cifarelli brand has become well known and trusted worldwide, and we are happy to be able to supply this excellent product to the South African market at a very competitive price that compares well to any other brand.
Not only does Dicla supply the Mist Blowers we also offer after-sales service n the form of repairs, maintenance, and a wide range of spare parts.
Dicla boasts with a fully equipped nursery for the supply of all vegetable seedlings.
Seedling orders are to be ordered in advance and paid upfront. lead times of 6-8 weeks apply. All orders should be placed via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Fertilizers, Insecticides and Pesticides
Dicla stocks and supplies a range of Fertilizers for Hydroponic Tunnel Farming, including Hydrogro (Kynoponix Beta), Calcium Nitrate and Pottasium Sulphate. With any fertilizer inquiries, feel free to contact us.
Dicla also offers a range of Insecticides and Pesticides for vegetable farming and grow medium for seedling production. Only brands of the highest quality is stocked.
Other tools of the trade
Vegetable farming requires tools. Acquiring the right tools makes vegetable farming easier. Hence Dicla proudly supplies a wide range of tools and equipment, such as, but not limited to:
- pH & EC Combination Testers (Handheld)
- Min/Max Thermometers
- 10lt / Cucumber Plant Bags
- Sawdust for hydroponic production
- High Quality Plastic Trellising Hooks
- Trellising Twine
- Plastic Repair Tape
- Borehole Equipment
- AND MORE!