Next Generation trip to G’s Espana
G’s España SL was established in Spain in 1985 in the Region of Murcia, on the Costa Calida of South-East Spain. They currently farm 1,100ha of land on a range of soils from heavy clay to loamy sand, growing 9 products; celery, beetroot, citrus, tomatoes, spring onions, melons, leafy, baby leaf and onions. On the first day the group received an informative presentation by Guy Shropshire, the third generation in the Shropshire family, this was followed by a tour of the main pack house then out into the field to look at leafy crops, iceberg harvesting, spring celery, citrus, and finishing off in glass houses looking at tomatoes.
All farms are run on drip irrigation system but sprinklers are used to help establish crops. G’s España have significantly invested in land and organic land conversion, with fields being levelled off to create depth and a flat landscape then adding G’s own compost at a rate of 40 to 50 tonnes per ha to create a good seed bed. The iceberg harvest was very interesting to watch with over 90 million icebergs being harvested in one Spanish growing season and 30% of the business being iceberg lettuce making it the biggest product category for G’s.
On the second day we visited a tomato pack house, baby leaf, celery harvest, lettuces, seedling nursery, Coronela organics, Citrus pack house, the main workshop and harvesting rig factory. Coronela organics being a newer part of the business and organics is something G’s are looking to increase in the future as there is a high demand for organics in Scandinavia who tend to set market trends, additionally Tesco are looking to move back into organics and they are a large customer with over 95% of Tesco’s salad being supplied by G’s.
When visiting the rig workshop we learnt that all rigs are designed and custom made for G’s and work almost 24hrs a day every day during the growing season. The company have also implemented a paperless system on board the rig where possible to be able to capture live data and encourage more efficient record keeping.
All staff also partake in a lean management system where every day each harvesting team, pack house or office department will have a meeting to discuss key performance indicators, statistics of performance over the last week and targets that they need to meet. The lean management system is implemented across the business and is designed to increased productivity and encourage improvements across the business with ideas being fed to monthly managers meetings.
Overall the group enjoyed an action packed 2 days and learnt of the extreme conditions that G’s España have had to adapt to. Especially apparent was the lack of water sources has meant that desalination and irrigation are a large part of the Spanish operations to help preserve precious water resources. To become market leading G’s produce for multiple markets all over Europe and have made large investments into their cold chain and storage facilities to be able to extend shelf life and freshness of product and adapt to their customer’s needs.