Tackling root causes


Tackling root causes

21 February 2018

Do you know the feeling? There’s water everywhere but you haven’t got the time to find out what is really going on. So you just bail out the boat without fixing the leak. We call that ‘symptom management’.


Symptom management is not uncommon: people favour short-term solutions. Scientific research has shown that our minds always pick the easier option. Even so, this approach can result in more difficulties in the longer term. The underlying problem may even get worse if we fail to tackle the root cause. And the boat may end up sinking. So we have to force ourselves to look for the cause of our problem.

At work too, people often opt for the quick solution. And sure enough, the problem is dealt with for a while. But not permanently.

Black ground cover

A good example is the black ground cover that has been used for years in horticulture. A lot of people wonder why we use that colour. The main reason was the harmful effect of UV radiation. Black naturally provides the best protection. However, the drawback is that black does not reflect sunlight and so it absorbs a lot of heat.

Fortunately, a cultivation floor – by contrast with concrete and asphalt, for example – also releases the heat quickly. And, of course, we can cool the floor. For example by filling the porous layer with water. ‘Problem solved’, is what we tend to think at this point.

Nevertheless, nothing has been done about the cause: the colour of the ground cover. But covers have always been black and that’s what everyone uses. You can’t just change it without a good reason, can you? So we keep tinkering to manage the problems with the black ground cover and accept the extra costs into the bargain.

Structural improvements

At ErfGoed, we have never really accepted easy, quick solutions. Obviously, there is no alternative sometimes but, where possible, we look for structural improvements. There are now excellent options for protecting other colours from sunlight.

So we have developed a completely unique, grey, ground cloth. That reduces heat absorption and provides enough reflection of sunlight, creating a much better microclimate that always helps the crop to grow and develop better. With higher yields and lower costs as a result!

I present the new ground cloth in this video:

ErfGoed is celebrating its sixtieth anniversary this year. During that time, we have grown rapidly and we have become the global leader in the development and construction of cultivation floors. That position is entirely due to the mentality of our organisation: never accepting the easy solutions but always searching for structural improvements.

If you have ideas or you want to challenge us, please call or send me an email!

Hugo Paans
Managing director