April 25, 2019
ZENSIE is a platform built for collaboration around data. That means making it easy to work with a variety of data sources (sensor data, climate control, traceability insights) and making it simple and intuitive to discuss and explore that data with colleagues, wherever they might be. The ability to engage, together, on real-time and historical crop data remotely is a major boost for agribusinesses aiming for greater consistency across locations, for making the most of consultants’ expertise, and for leveraging knowledge within decentralised teams.
In a crisis, it can serve as a crucial lifeline for growers needing to communicate, exchange tactics and identify threats to their crops.
Digital collaboration when disease strikes
What happens when your crop is suffering, and a crop walk is simply not an option? What happens when greenhouses are on emergency lockdown— how do grower communities work together to avert a crisis? We’ve been hearing from tomato growers within our network across Europe concerned or affected by Tomato brown rugose fruit virus (ToBRFV), a newly emerging virus which can also affect sweet peppers, first identified in the middle east and now spreading to mainland Europe. Because the virus can spread so easily and rapidly— through handling, cutting and insect pollination— prevention requires strict and proactive measures. Identifying ToBRFV can be tricky. According to Royal Brinkman, a significant danger with this virus is that the damage caused by ToBRFV resemblance to the Pepino mosaic. As a result, it’s easily misidentified and overlooked. Collaborative identification, with the ability to compare and comment on images in real-time without the need for on-site visits can make the difference.
Protecting growers’ bottom line with digital agriculture
Not only is ToBRFV difficult to identify, it is currently not possible to fight. Once symptoms of infection (including mild to severe mosaic, discolouring on the leaves, leaf narrowing, yellow or brown crinkled skin) are visible, crops must be destroyed. According to the AHDB, the virus can affect up to 100% of stock, rendering it unmarketable. This can have significant economic impact on any grower, in any European country affected. In the United Kingdom, for example, the home production market value of UK tomatoes was £104.9m in 2017. As we’ve heard from our community, prevention is therefore a top priority— across the sector. In what one grower described to us as a “bit of a dawn of the dead scenario”, we’re proud to hear that growers across greenhouses and across regions are working together, exchanging data and experiences within the ZENSIE platform. As agriculture goes digital, “all hands on deck” can be increasingly global.