Why do we think this is the best channel for growing Fancy lettuce?

A few facts first:

  • We have been very successful in this business for over 22 years in sub tropical Queensland

  • We have consistently been innovators, often supplying other growers with our innovations

  • We have found this the best possible choice for Salanova varieties, because of their growth habit and time in the channel.

  • We have tried most channels on the market and,

  • We know what is needed to be a successful commercial grower

It is no big secret that some of Queensland’s larger growers have been using 65mm round pipe to grow Fancy lettuce for many years, in spite of the fact that the gurus all tell us we must have a flat bottomed channel. We are amongst those growers.

However using this off the shelf product has led to some difficulty, especially for newer growers. We believe there are five main disadvantages to it’s use.

  1. Contamination. The off the shelf product is manufactured for what is called DWV or drain, waste and vent purposes. As such there is no requirement for food safety in the stabilisers used, which have included such things as lead and tin in the past. These are rarely if ever used now in developed countries, but may still be being used in some places. So there may be a risk of contamination, as has happened in the past.
  2. Fixing. Being a complete circle, the product is difficult to fix. It is quite dispiriting to come out in the morning and find the outer pipes on each bench turned upside down, when your plants are getting large and crowding each other for space. When you set up your hydroponic business you need to do it properly, once, and not spend half your day doing repairs.
  3. Nutrient flow. Damming of the nutrient is also another problem using this particular profile. While some growers learn strategies to overcome this problem, others never do. Oxygen is very important to your plant roots and some flat area will certainly assist in oxygenation of the root zone.
  4. Fittings. Being a product produced for something else, there are no specific fittings to adapt for using the profile for hydroponic growing. This means more expense and time in your setup, which you can do without.
  5. Holes. It comes without holes. This means considerable time and effort needs to be spent in drilling holes in the profile, which is quite difficult with a round channel as it naturally wants to twist all the time.

A few facts about the Simplicity channel:

  • Windage. Of all the channels we have tried 65mm round pipe seems to be the one least affected by wind, i.e. fewer plants will get blown out during high winds.

  • It is a single use channel. That is, it has been designed for one crop only, to be the best possible channel for that crop, and it does not compromise by trying to be all things to all crops.

  • It will save you money. The amount of plastic in this channel is less than others, therefore the price is lower.

  • It comes pre-drilled with holes at your specified spacings.

  • It is safe as it is manufactured from white, food grade, UV protected PVC using organic stabilisers.

  • It is simple to fix with low cost options and tools. (No special stands to buy or concreting of legs) This will also save you money.

  • No nutrient damming due to the small flat area on the bottom.

  • End caps are available for both ends of the channel, that is all you need to keep your setup costs down.

  • End or centre troughs are easily fabricated or can be supplied

© 2009 – 2012, Simplicity Controls. All rights reserved.

13 Responses to “Hydroponic Channel”

  • Mike Warner says:

    Hi Good People

    I’m doing a business plan feasability study and costing exercise for a range of hydroponics kits for resale here in WA.

    Your 65mm Simplicity channel looks like it fits the bill for the lettuce, mizuna, mibuna, rocket, chicory,and endive pick and come again sections of our system.

    Have a few questions about your hydroponics channel (65mm)

    1. Do you have an Agent/ distributor in WA – If so could you supply details?

    If you don’t have an agent could you please advise on the following :
    2. Maximum length of the channel
    3. Unit price per standard lengths plus any volume discounts applicable.
    4.Any idea of road freight costs to WA. (Mundaring Eastern Hills Perth outer metro area.

    Would also appreciate any other information: Pictures of the systems in operation. Optimum spacing for lettuce and othe fast growing leafy salad veg, recommended slope for a NFT set up.Nutrient flow rates etc.

    Looking forward to your response


    Mike Warner

  • Luis Torres says:

    I like to know the prices for the hydroponics channels
    I live in Puerto Rico.

  • admin says:

    Hello Luis,
    As with all things it really depends on volume or total length. Suffice to say our price is very competitive and I will send you an email with some details. For others reading this reply, if you wish pricing please include amounts required and shipping details.

  • admin says:

    Thank you for your enquiry. Unfortunately it is mentioned elsewhere in the site that we supply commercial quantities only. It is totally uneconomic to load a die into an extrusion machine for a couple of lengths as it takes about 30 lengths to get the machine set up and running correctly. It sounds like you may be a new grower thinking about hydro as a commercial possibility. What you will learn from a tiny system such as you propose will teach you nothing about commercial hydroponics, that is just the truth of the matter as many, many, people over the years have found out. you are far better to find a reputable consultant if you decide to invest in commercial hydroponics. the reurns and lifestyle are great, if there is a market for your product where you are. So much has been learnt over the years, to start from nothing at this stage means years of learning stuff existing producers already know. This often leads to frustration, and people quitting. We have seen this happen countless times over the last 20 years. My advice, again given many times because this is what happened to us, apart from the above, if you are considering commercial hydroponics, is to read, learn, budget carefully, allow 3 times what you budget for and don’t expect a return for at least a couple of years. Then you MAY be successful. Sorry we can’t help you.

  • Denis Matthews says:

    I am in the initial stages of planning a commercial hydroponic lettuce business on my property in the Lockyer Valley, SE QLD.
    For planning purposes I am looking to start with approx 5000 plant spaces, with the intention to expand if all goes well. If my calculations are correct, this would equate to approx 1000 mts.
    Could you please provide more information on you channel system, including recommended length, support spacing, prices per length/mt, attachment fittings, end caps plus anything else you would see relevant.
    I dont claim to be an expert in the field of NFT but like I said I have just begun the planning stage and would really appreciate any hints, tips and info, good and bad.
    Kind Regards
    Denis Matthews
    334 West Rd Coominya
    QLD 4311
    ph 0466721765

  • admin says:

    Denis, have sent you an email with my thoughts on a very small system.

  • admin says:

    Have sent you an email Denis asking for more info

  • Rudi Wijdh says:

    What is the minimum order you will execute ?
    What is the f.o.b.-price for a channel of 5 mtr ?

  • admin says:

    $3 AUD per meter is the price, holes at whatever spacing you require. Minimum quantities are 1,000 mtrs
    The above is not the FOB price, it is te manufactured price, factory is located about 10 K’s from Brisbane Port.
    I will only do FOB for a firm proposal, I am too busy to do definitive quotes for a vague enquiry.
    If you want to be more specific I can be.

  • dustin says:

    hello were can i buy this type of piping in the usa.

  • admin says:

    Hello Dustin,
    We do not have agents in order to keep the price down, we only sell direct to end users. If you wish to purchase you can do so from us. We only do commercial quantities however, minimum is 1,000 mtrs, with hole spacing at whatever you desire.

  • Joshua Maher says:

    Hello, Do you guys sell to any suppliers that do smaller quantities of the channel? I was only after around 20m

  • admin says:

    Hello Joshua,
    As above, no, we only do commercial quantities, minimum is 1,000 mtrs, sorry

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