August 24, 2018
Paprikakwekerij Gubbels Siberië is a sweet pepper nursery in Baarlo and Maasbree, in Limburg, a southern province of the Netherlands. Run by Wim Gubbels and his son Erik, the 30 hectare nursery produces an average of 30 kilograms of peppers per square meter in a growing season. Like many pepper growers, Gubbels struggled with unnecessary product losses (up to 1% of production) from sunscald — a common risk for fruiting peppers in high heat. With 30MHz tech, however, they’ve gained a new level of insight into their plants’ condition, and are able to take preventative action to avoid sunscald-related losses.
Gubbels monitor their crops’ microclimate in real-time within the 30MHz platform, tracking fruit temperature, humidity, dew point and vapor pressure deficit (VPD) with wireless sensors. These measurements— presented in graphs, visualizations and custom alerts— enable the growers to meaningfully experiment with ventilation, humidity and CO2 control, with an overview of current measurements, as well as historical context of the plants’ condition.
“I’m opening your screen way more often than I expected to do,” notes crop manager Geert Colbers. “With monitoring, we’re seeing way less scalded peppers. Based on the data in ZENSIE, I am able to keep windows closed longer, and by doing so am able to keep more humidity and CO2 in the glasshouse without the temperature getting too hot. It’s a very valuable tool.” Insights from the pointed microlimate sensor have not only helped the nursery prevent losses, they’ve helped improve production. “By using the PMC, we experience 1% less pepper scald and on top.of that 1,5% more production since screens can be kept open longer.” With a 2.5% increase in pepper production, ROI on 30MHz technology is 256.4% within a year, and 813.5% within 3 years, with a payback period of a little over 3 months. As pepper prices increase this season, the financial benefit of smart sensing is set to increase further— especially as Gubbels experiment further to optimise production and reduce risks. “I used to play it safe more often before working with 30MHz technology, now I feel I can try more approaches, like letting in more sunlight to optimise profit from the sun!”