Crop consultant: Remote advice is direct and future proof
The single greatest benefit from crop consultancy at a distance? Leo van Uffelen has no doubt: It’s the speed. The crop consultant believes that remote advice is the future in horticulture. Convincing the sector can be tough. But Leo has a weapon: data.
Leo works as an independent crop consultant who’s specialized in pot plants. He sees that remote crop consultancy is on the rise. However most of the growers keep being sceptical. Especially the older generation, says Leo, who emphasizes that he is part of this generation.
“Even if I provide evidence and make sure the plants are ready for delivery in time, they cling on to their old methods. Understandably, because they always relied on their feelings while growing. We didn’t have real time data back then. It’s easier to convince the younger generation. Nowadays, we have the tools. So we have to use it. We are able to grow without relying on feelings.”
Consulting at a distance makes a better advice
Leo is in the middle of his weekly visiting round when we talk to him. Once a week he walks through his clients greenhouses to see if the data corresponds with how the crops really look. Just to make sure that the plants are ready for the next stop in the supply chain.
He says that consulting at a distance simply makes his advice better. It’s a big contrast compared to his old methods.
“Back then, I also made my weekly rounds”, Leo tells us. “If I noticed some bleaching in the leaves, I advised to use the screens differently. During my next visit a week later the bleaching disappeared, but a new problem occurred. The screening caused a decrease in light, which led to a slower growing pace. Nowadays, I’m not depending on that weekly visit anymore. I can always check the current climate settings of the greenhouse.”
The big advantage is that he doesn’t have to be on location to provide tailored advice. It makes consultancy faster. It is crucial that his data loads directly, emphasizes the crop consultant: “As soon as I have data, I can consult. No data, no advice.”
Instant analyzing the climate settings
“The data gets imported real time into the 30MHz platform. As soon as measurements are outside of the setted limits, I receive an alarm. Then I log into the system, check the climate settings and analyse what’s going on. Next I take a screenshot and send a message to the grower. That’s how quick and direct crop consultancy at a distance is.”
On the 30MHz platform Leo created various dashboards to keep track of data flows. Like PAR, leaf temperature and vapour pressure deficit (VPD). From his own home he scans these dashboards. On his weekly round he uses the dashboards to substantiate possible points of improvement for his clients.
The value of these dashboards reaches further. He uses them to locate limits. An example: “I keep up on the amount of light a plant gets before the leaves start to yellow. The sum of light can be huge and that leads to a stronger plant. The crucial thing is to prevent the peak in lightning. These peaks can cause yellowing. I use the PAR sensor to measure such peaks. By adjusting your screen settings you can flatten the peaks and still reach the desired PAR sum.
In conclusion, the digital tools for consultancy at a distance are available. Leo uses a data platform and sensors. Will his advice soon be completely remote? “I will keep doing my weekly rounds. The importance of seeing the plants with the bear eye will stay. Because sometimes there are circumstances that require extra attention. Like a heatwave or a frosty week. In horticulture you can experience extreme days. So no surveillance at all won’t work for me.”
Leo van Uffelen uses the 30MHz dataplatform for his remote crop consultancy. Do you want to move forward in digitisation? Or do you have any questions? We are happy to help you. Let us know how we can help you: email@example.com
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Brabant Plant connected their climate computer to the 30MHz platform early 2020. This led to valuable benefits. Cultivation researcher Marvin Verkuijlen tells us about his experiences with the integration. “Now it’s easier to compare different compartments.”
Brabant Plant is a Dutch family business that focuses on breeding young vegetable plants and pot plants. Apart from being an enormous nursery, the company has a research and development department. This is where Marvin Verkuijlen spends his days. He loves to use innovations and it’s his job to connect the dots between theory and practice.
“Data is something we discuss a lot at Brabant Plant”, says Marvin. “I have many colleagues with decades of experience. They are able to spot data fluctuations with their bare eyes. As a researcher I discuss these observations with them. I look at the plant from a physiological point of view and I combine my knowledge with our in house experience. That’s valuable teamwork.”
Marvin checking his dashboards.
Connecting your climate computer
Various data sources help Marvin to gather information. For example he analyses data regarding the use of different screens in the greenhouse. “This is a big company with lots of different compartments. I can use my Priva climate computer to check upon the climate situation in a specific area, but it doesn’t allow me to make a quick comparison to a different area.”
About a year ago Marvin connected the climate computer to 30MHz. This means all the data the climate computer gathers, is transferred to the platform. “And with 30MHz’s platform I can overlay data from various compartments. This makes it easy to compare compartments.”
Data pool with usable information
Marvin uses the Pointed Micro Climate sensor to measure the difference between the climate above and under the screens. “We place one sensor on a high point in the greenhouse, the other one on plant level. We also use this method for comparisons within a compartment, like comparing the left side to the right side. This creates a data pool with usable information”, says Marvin.
As a grower that focuses on young plants, Brabant Plant has a concrete floor. This is a big difference compared to growers with big tomato or pepper plants, because much more sunlight reaches the bottom of the greenhouse. At Brabant Plant they monitor the floor conditions carefully. Marvin: “Do we have to change the screen settings? Do we have to adjust the cooling settings? These are questions that you can answer by monitoring your data.”
Via Klimlink huge amounts of data can be integrated into the 30MHz platform. “The setup was easily realised. If you think about the amount of data that is being imported, I’m surprised how smoothly it runs”, says Marvin. “All sensors are easily recognisable in the system. I especially like the way you can visualise your data in dashboards. And additional sensors can easily be added to the platform.”
The Pointed Micro Climate sensor at Brabant Plant
Store and connect horticulture data
As a researcher in horticulture, Marvin expects data will get more valuable over time. “Data has alway been collected in horticulture. It gives you a guideline for a specific moment. But if you store and connect all that data, you can discover interesting things. You can create a map and track how a plant disease moves through your company, to name an example.”
“30MHz are a bunch of connectors. Together with partners they find ways to connect data. The challenge is to create one huge data pool where all sensors and data sources come together. If you can connect your planning, climate data, scout data and your IPM-strategy on a platform, you create valuable insights for your whole business.”
Want to know more about connecting your climate computer to the 30MHz platform? Feel free to ask us anything: firstname.lastname@example.org
Growing cucumbers based on facts instead of assumptions
Drenthe Growers has been using Delphy’s Climate Profiler and Quality Monitoring System (QMS) since december 2019. They use these instruments to grow cucumbers based on facts. Green fingers are essential, but the grower is in need of extra certainty.
Peter Bergsma is the right person to experiment with digital innovations. The co-owner of Drenthe Growers has a technical background and had no experience in growing cucumbers until a few years ago. This allows him to have a fresh outlook on his work. Traditionally growers use their gut feeling. But if you keep track of all your data it’s easy to see how you have handled situations in the past. This can prevent problems. Growing gets more predictable.’
Bergsma participates in two Delphy pilots: QMS cucumber and the Climate Profiler. He uses the QMS to plan the yield. Every week he entries data into the system, the QMS calculates the planning and Bergsma adapts his strategy accordingly. ‘This helps me get a better understanding of the plant. The influence of the climate on the plants can be seen in detail.’
Climate Profiler helps you decide
Drenthe Growers also uses the Climate Profiler to help the planning. This application generates climate and weather data like CO2 levels, the light sum, temperature development and moisture levels. The grower describes an example: ‘You can calculate which temperature you need during certain light conditions. This creates a profile. Next you decide yourself how you want to realise these conditions.’
Bergsma also gathers data about leaf splitting and crop growth that he inserts into the application. Delphy advisor Rens Smith shares his feedback on a daily basis. ‘Rens visits once a week, but thanks to this system he can provide advice every day of the week’, says Bergsma. ‘We are expanding in the near future. We will use QMS and the Climate Profiler to control each greenhouse separately. This helps us in our planning and logistics.’
Always data at your disposal
Advisor Rens Smith is an early adopter of digitisation. ‘I can see the growers’ data before I visit them, so I arrive fully prepared. My conversations with growers get more value. We can go more in depth’, explains Smith.
The Climate Profiler is a step in the direction of data driven growing. Seeing how every greenhouse or location responds to climate circumstances is a huge advantage. This enables the grower to set up a slightly different growing strategy in every location to get the optimal results. The Climate Profiler calculates everything.
Rens Smith: ‘Sometimes we miss certain information in cucumber cultivation. The advantage of more data is that you can base your decisions on facts instead of assumptions.’
The Delphy Climate Profiler is an application hosted on the 30MHz platform. Within this application, knowledge of Delphy is translated into an application that provides real-time cultivation advice. Do you want to get more out of your data? Let us know! email@example.com
New apps and features: 30MHz keeps building on digital horticulture in 2021
This year has learned that it is a huge benefit to be able to share your data. Asking your consultants or colleagues questions and sharing insights from a distance during a global pandemic is easy to do on the 30MHz platform. We saw a huge rise in questions and comments about crops and data during the pandemic. In 2021 we continue to connect people, plants and technology. We are working on some helpful new features for horticulture in 2021. Let’s have a look on our roadmap for the coming year!
At 30MHz we provide all the elements horticulturalbusinessesin2021 need to digitise their locations, centralise their data collection and digitally monitor their crops without technical expertise. It’s our ambition to become 100% compatible with every sensor and data source available in the market. This way you can collect and analyse all your data in one place: the 30MHz platform.
To improve your organisation’s overview, it will be possible to split your organisation into different locations. Just like in the physical world. This enables you to create a digital version of your company in a more detailed way. And if your organisation is expanding, your digital environment will grow along.
Split your organisation into different locations.
How can a grower get a clear view of what’s happening in the greenhouse as quickly as possible? That is a key question in our product development. By adding schematic maps to the platform we make data easier to understand. If you have different locations it will be possible to make an accurate digital representation of your organisation, as seen below.
Make zones in your digital greenhouse.
We are also making improvements on the navigation. It will become easier to switch between groups and organisations.
Navigate smoothly between groups.
Apps and plugins for specific needs
Sharing data, asking questions and providing comments on specific cases. Like we said we saw a rapid increase in the social elements of the 30MHz platform. We believe it’s important that you can share information in a simple manner. Especially during times of pandemic. We want you to be able to make the most of consultants’ expertise and advice. In 2021 we want to improve the way you interact with your partners and we will introduce extra features for sharing information.
Our customers asked for specific applications that can be integrated within our platform. We develop these apps with third parties. In 2020 we added Climate Profile by Delphy and 2Grow Plant Insights will follow in January. In the coming months more applications will follow. A sneak peek of work in progress:
Use third party apps to gain more insights.
To illustrate what this means to you as a user we take a look at the new 2Grow app. 2Grow offers sensors that collect data about the sap flow and stam diameter of plants. The Plant Insights application can provide growers with detailed information on the various ways their plant is being influenced. See the image below for an impression of the app.
2Grow Plant Insights shows you what is going on inside your plant.
More insights about light and temperature
We would love to show you another feature that you have been asking for: the scatter plot. This is a type of data visualisation that shows the relationship between different variables. A scatter plot can be very helpful when you can control one continuous variable and the other variable depends on the variation of the first variable. This enables you to see a relation between variables that you don’t see when you just look at the numbers. We show you an example of a scatter plot that uses light as a controllable variable and temperature as a dependent variable. But there are many more variables that you can use in this widget.
Use the scatterplot to translate data into information.
Any ideas for 2021?
2021 promises to be yet another important year in the digitalization of agriculture. Together with you, we want to build an even better platform. A place that suits all your needs. At 30MHz, we are always open to suggestions. We would love to hear from you if you have any ideas or questions. Is there a specific problem that you want to tackle by using data? Do you want to gain insights based on data but you don’t know how to begin? Don’t hesitate and let us know. We will listen and help you.
Biotechnology company 2Grow and 30MHz have joined forces to develop smart data tools that provide growers, breeders and researchers with even more detailed insights into the health and needs of their plants. This year they developed a new application: 2Grow Plant Insights. The app will become available as of January 2021 on the 30MHz platform.
2Grow offers sensors that collect data about the sap flow and stem diameter of plants. 30MHz and 2Grow have been collaborating on sensor technologies since 2019 and users of the 30MHz platform can easily connect 2Grow sensors to their dashboards. 2Grow Plant Insights now also provides them with additional, detailed information on the various ways their plant is being influenced.
“The 2Grow application gives you a better understanding of what exactly is happening with your plant, without having to use all kinds of formulas,” explains 30MHz account manager Tim Busschops. “It is an all-in-one solution: a data visualisation to make the information easy to digest, a combination of various data sources and consultancy, as you can see how your plant responds in real time. This is making the user wiser.”
2Grows sap flow sensor.
The growers stays in control
“Thanks to the direct feedback from the plant, we can generate many insights”, says Olivier Begerem of 2Grow. “For example, we can see the specific time when problems like blossom end rot and ruptured fruits have occurred. Based on this information we can anticipate to prevent certain problems in the future. By connecting the 2Grow sensors to the 30MHz platform you can combine other sensor and climate data with our measurements. This gives us the opportunity to draw conclusions much faster and our advice becomes more accurate.”
By consulting the measurements 2Grow can give advice on methods to make the plant more resistant to diseases. This information gets saved in the database for future reference. If you search for a specific temperature, you can see the advice that was given for that situation in the past. For example; when it’s a hot week in July, you can search the database for the advice that was given during a similar hot week the year before.
“Our platform offers more and more tools for the grower”, says Tim Busschops from 30MHz. “As a grower you stay in control. You decide which data sources and apps you want to use to optimise and improve your results.”
2Grow and 30MHz are connecting people and plants
Growers and breeders have a great need for information. On the 30MHz platform users can combine 2Grows measurements with information from other data sources like a Soil Moisture sensor.
“Therefore, we are very pleased to be able to expand the platform with this application and provide more value to our customers,”, explaines 30MHz Head of Product Cor-Jan Holwerda. “30MHz is a platform where all the data and knowledge from growers and from consultants and suppliers in the industry become connected. It’s a central platform to visualise, combine, store and share all your data and convert them into actionable insights.”
The 2Grow app will be available on the 30MHz platform for free as of January 2021. Would you like to start using the app? Or do you have any questions? Let us know: firstname.lastname@example.org
Watch our webinar with Olivier of 2Grow:
Together with biotechnology company 2Grow we developed a new application: 2Grow Plant Insights. This app provides growers, breeders and researchers with even more detailed insights into the health and needs of their plants. Read more: https://t.co/NTy7n6USjn
Timo Spruijt is 30MHz’s new CCO: ‘Together with growers and partners we innovate’
Timo Spruijt is 30MHz’s new Chief Commercial Officer (CCO). Together with 30MHz Timo wants to take big steps in innovating agriculture and simplify digitalisation in the sector. “Growers and partners can use 30MHz to decide which information is valuable to their business.”
Ever since he was young Timo Spruijt worked in agriculture. A sector that brought him all over the world. When he was 13 years old he began fluffing roses and from the age of 17 he is working full time in agriculture. After different jobs for growers and breeders he started working for Koppert Biological Systems as an international high tech-consultant 12 years ago. He moved to Mexico to become Kopperts commercial officer and stayed there for a few years. Then he returned to the head office in the Netherlands where he started working as a commercial manager in the Agri Division.
“In that role I translated the technological aspects of the products to a pragmatic story for the customer”, Timo says. “While doing that I continuously kept the customers wishes and expectations in mind. I believe that everything you do in a business has to be aimed at your customers and that they will tell each other that you are the right company for them.”
Timo Spruijt is 30MHz’s new CCO.
Now you landed at the digital side of agriculture. Why did you join 30MHz?
“I want to innovate. Technological innovation is a huge trend and has a major influence on agriculture. When I talked to 30MHz it all came together. This company has a unique and strong position which convinced me that I had to do it. Last year I started a global executive Master of Business Administration (MBA). In the first week we had to prepare a personal statement. I said: ‘I will innovate agriculture’. At 30MHz I will get the chance to do just that.”
What are your thoughts on technological innovation in agriculture?
“Agriculture is known for its ‘fingerspitzengefühl’ and the will to innovate continuously. The growers know what is most important for their crops and their business. By monitoring and automating growers can get the maximum out of their knowledge and experience, and their suppliers. But if you get overwhelmed with all the new developments, it can be hard to process the information into something that improves your business.”
What role is 30MHz playing in all this?
“As I said: the grower knows what’s best for their business. 30MHz can simplify things for them by translating digitalization to practical information. We see that growers have lots of equipment, information from different sources and get advice from different companies. That can be difficult. We ask the growers: ‘What do you want to know and what do you want to learn?’ Well by using the 30MHz platform you can see just that. 30MHz doesn’t take sides and the platform evolves together with the growers and their partners. The partners of growers are our partners and we would like to connect their future systems to our platform. The grower decides what is valuable and which information he needs. He is in control and decides who can see his data. On the other end there are partners that offer their data on the 30MHz platform. This way they can provide solutions for growers who have more complex questions. Together we innovate the sector.”
What are your views and plans for the future?
“30MHz is not just a platform for existing features, but also for the coming aspects. The development of precision growing, drones and robots combined with the public demand for a more transparent and responsible way of growing, will create a wave of information in agriculture. 30MHz is able to support this in real time. Not in the form of an overwhelming wave of information, but a summary that is relevant to you. This way 30MHz can be the centre of knowledge sharing, while the growers and their partners keep developing in their own field. It is my dream to help growers on all continents to implement this innovation and to transfer knowledge into action. Together with them I want to make a difference. To get back on my earlier statement: ‘I will innovate agriculture’, starting at 30MHz is the first step in that mission.”
Timo Spruijt is 30MHz’s new Chief Commercial Officer. Together with 30MHz Timo wants to take big steps in innovating agriculture and simplify digitalization in the sector. Welcome Timo! Read more about his mission: https://t.co/QBR5eEL6bCpic.twitter.com/Agvv7GWS0D
Three platform features that can be beneficial during winter time
As a grower you want to keep up with all the factors that can influence the climate in your greenhouse. There are multiple features within the 30MHz platform that can help you visualize valuable information during the winter. We’ve listed three features that can help you in the colder months.
The days are getting darker and temperatures fall. Of course the weather is a key factor in your greenhouse and you want to know precisely which temperatures you can expect. That’s why we’ve built a weather forecast on our platform, so you can get detailed predictions on the expected rain in millimeters, the wind speed, global radiation and many more factors.
The weather data can be specific for a certain location. This is based on coordinates that you provided as a user of the 30MHz platform. You can add a virtual weather station for every location in your network.
It’s also possible to check weather data of periods in the past. The data can be traced back to the moment that your virtual weather station was created.
If you would like to monitor certain weather circumstances with extra caution, it’s advisable use an alarm. An example: if you’d like to know when the temperature drops below the freezing point, you instantly can get a text message or an email via the platform. This way you can act fast and with more accuracy.
For some companies it’s important to keep track of how much light the crops are getting during the darker months. Sometimes it’s necessary to put in some extra hours of artificial light. How do you monitor this data?
Of course you need a PAR sensor. This device monitors the strength of natural light and can be used to measure PPFD (Photosynthetic Photon Flux Density) in agricultural environments. In the 30MHz platform you can visualize the data collected by this sensor.
Cultivation specialist Leo van Uffelen uses PAR data on a daily basis and made some nice visualizations in his dashboards: “It is important to have a weekly dashboard that visualizes the data per day, as a day can never be the same. This can be visualized with a bar chart. If the weather is changing and for example the light intensity decreases, you can decide to change your screening strategy.”
As the name suggests, the Chill Unit widget can be very useful in winter time. Chill Units (CU) are generally used for fruit bearing trees and flower bulbs. Fruit-bearing trees need a period of cold weather after which a fruit-bearing tree will blossom in spring. Flower bulbs need a certain period of cold to sprout or bloom as well.
So to use of the CU widget is ideal for companies that grow fruit or flower bulbs. You can see the feature as an option in the Growing Degrees & Chill Hours application.
CU represents the time of exposure to cold temperatures. To calculate the CU you need to insert a threshold value. For example: if you set the threshold on 10 °C, the feature adds up all the hours below the threshold. Did the fruit trees spend enough time in the cold temperatures? Then you will receive a notification and you know exactly when the flowers are ready to sprout.
Andreas Lypas works as a cultivation manager at Castleton Fruit and he keeps track of the CU while growing strawberries and raspberries. He says the CU widget is a complement to his work: “With no extra effort, all the data appears in my dashboard. With these data, I can precisely analyse next year’s crop of soft fruits and stay focused on other job tasks. I can still evaluate the data and have a global perception of winter temperatures.”
Need some extra information? In this video our product owner Mirjam Bekker tells you all about the widget en how you can use it:
Using crop level data to optimise IPM strategy
Ant Surrage works as a Technical Development Specialist for Fargro. In this article he explains how collecting and visualising crop level and crop walk data can be helpful with the optimisation of an IPM programme.
Integrated pest management (IPM) is now becoming a mainstay of crop protection. However, although our pest management practices are integrated rarely are our datasets. I regularly see growers have several different spreadsheets collecting and storing metrics. To truly unlock the potential of that data it needs to be centralised on a platform and visualised in a way that creates new actionable insights to optimize IPM performance.
There is great value to collecting many different data sets but the two most important from my experience with growers has been microclimate crop level data and detailed crop walk data.
The crop level data gives us a more valid metric to base decisions on. The environment within the canopy or on the underside of the leaf can be profoundly different from the surrounding growing environment. This is also measuring and monitoring the areas where pest and disease will develop. This intern means that any decision support dashboards created will be more representative of the crop and lead to better decision making.
Secondly, crop walk data is hugely important as it gives a historic perspective that allows for further refinement and specification of an IPM programme. It is useful for the team crop walking to have an agreed protocol and a mutual understanding of how to score pest and disease pressure. We often see growers score on a scale of 0 – 5, where 0 is no presence and 5 is a severe infection. Ensuring that everyone is scoring a 3 is crucial to make sure data sets are reliable.
Using 30MHz’s data platform and the manual data input function allows us to overlay, in widgets, pest and disease pressure against key environmental metrics such as temperature and humidity. Working with grower groups over the last two years we have been collecting the data and looking for patterns in conditions that may explain the pest and disease increases. Using these widgets and Growing Degree Hours/Growing Degree Days functions we have been able to support growers in improving the timing of their applications of biocontrol and biopesticides.
Understanding and visualising high-risk conditions for disease development has meant that growers have been able to adjust their cultural practices such as spacing, screening and venting. This reduces the risk of disease and can push infection back, which can save on applications of controls measures, saving money but perhaps as importantly in the current approval climate maintain the number of applications for key chemical controls.
Ant Surrage shows his dashboard.
Data can be visualised via the widgets in the platform to recommend in real-time what IPM control measures will work most effectively. The best example of this is biopesticides. Biopesticides tend to be based on living organisms and as such have adapted to inhabit certain environmental conditions. Environmental data can be presented in a way that lets a grower know if the temperatures and/or humidity are correct for an efficacious application. Taking this into account growers and advisors alike can have confidence that the environmental conditions will not be a limiting factor in the efficacy of that IPM input.
To summarise, collecting, centralising and visualising crop level environmental and crop walk data can allow for the optimisation of an IPM programme at every level from cultural and hygiene measures to the application of biopesticides.
Break the state of winter recess with the Chill Unit widget
Chill Units (CU) are generally used for fruit trees and flower bulbs. Fruit-bearing trees need a period of cold weather after which a fruit-bearing tree will blossom. Andreas Lypas, propagation manager at Castleton Fruit, explains how he uses chilling units to prepare for winter.
Chilling requirement is the number of effective chilling hours needed to restore bud growth potential in spring. Chilling refers to the requirement of low temperature to allow normal growth in the following spring. Not getting enough winter chilling results in a decline in both yield and fruit quality.
The chilling requirement is usually measured in terms of numbers of hours, during which temperature remains at or below 7°C during the colder months of the year. Getting enough winter chill makes sure that latent buds can break the state of winter recess and begin growing during the spring. Measuring chill units can make a huge difference in yield quality of blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, cherries and peaches.
You can use the Utah model to measure the chilling requirement. This model contains a weight function assigning different chilling efficiencies to different temperature ranges. It also weights negative contributions by high temperatures. The Utah model defines a chill unit as the permanence of the buds for a period of 1 hour in a temperature range considered optimum (2.5-12.5°C) to accumulate chill.
The Utah model is more complex because it introduces the concept of relative chilling effectiveness and negative chilling accumulation or chilling negation. According to research temperatures between 0°C and 16°C promote the breaking of rest whereas higher temperatures negate such effects.
Maximum promotion occurs at 7°C ( 1 hour at 7°C = 1 chill unit). Higher and lower temperatures within the range of 0 – 16°C are less effective.
The Utah Model can be used to measure the chilling requirement.
Unfortunately, that means that growers need to keep an Excel file and update it every day. That needs a lot of effort and labour time and cost. Luckily, I found the Growing Degree Units & Chill Hours widget in 30MHz’s platform.
I’m finding the widget extremely useful and I can still see the process in real time. With no extra effort, all the data appears in my dashboard. With these data, I can precisely analyse next year’s crop of soft fruits and stay focused on other job tasks. I can still evaluate the data and have a global perception of winter temperatures. After evaluating the low winter temperatures, I chose to grow the best suitable cherry variety. With a complete picture of the Growing Degree Hours, I achieved precision farming and optimised crop yields.
How Andreas Lypas is measuring Chill Hours in the 30MHz-platform.
What’s very helpful about 30MHz’s sensors and platform, is the accuracy of the data, the transport and the immediate traceability. The calculation of chill hours in the dashboard is done by counting the hours below a certain threshold, which the grower selects and has a graphic representation of evolution.
How a flower grower uses data to improve the cultivation process
Using sensors to measure the temperature of the leaf or check if you marked the dew point right. Growers can use 30MHz technology to improve their cultivation process at a high precision level. Nico Plasmeijer, Cultivation Specialist at BB Plant in Bleiswijk, uses the data platform on a daily basis and explains how he utilises data to improve his cultivation process.
At nursery BB Plant, they are growing Calla’s all year long. The plant is also known under it’s name Zantedeschia. “Together with the owner Bram Breugem, I’m responsible for the cultivation”, tells Plasmeijer. “This is a small company, so you need to know a a little bit about everything. That makes the job more challenging and exciting. What appeals to me as a grower is that our product is finished in three months. I see this high turnover rate as an advantage. If you have a good product, then the greenhouse looks good for three months. If the quality is somehow a bit off, it will only last a few months. Fortunately, it generally goes well.”
Plasmeijer has a lot of experience in floriculture. He feels it’s becoming increasingly important and also easier to use data in his daily work. “We use an older climate computer. Within the company we have four departments and in each location we have a measuring box. This is where we collect data from, such as the temperature and the moisture deficiency. We use these insights to control the greenhouse. But it doesn’t tell us everything. We wanted to get a better understanding of our crop’s health and environment, and decided to start collecting and analysing more data with the use of 30MHz technology.”
After using the data platform for a year, he has really noticed the added value it brings in finetuning the cultivation process. “Whether the plant is doing well or not, we can turn our precise and real-time data into actionable insights. We cannot do that with our climate computer. With the platform, I can make beautiful graphs and charts. It takes a bit of practice, but it does pay off. The layout is nice and clear. I don’t have to visit the greenhouse as frequently anymore, I can easily check how things are going from the comfort of my home.”
‘We thought we tackeled the dew point’
Plasmeijer says the dew point is a good example in which the platform of 30MHz helped him. The dew point is a huge factor in BB Plants greenhouse, because it is important in the prevention of mold. “After we water the plant, we use a strategy for aeration and heating. You have to dry the garden a certain way to prevent the plants from getting too wet. In 30MHz’s platform, we can see the exact dew point. We always thought we had ‘tackled’ the issue of the dew point, but the data showed us that we were staying too close to that dew point for too long.”
The measuring of the leaf temperature is another big advantage according to Plasmeijer. “First we just saw the temperature of the greenhouse, but now we can see exactly what the temperatures of the plants are. That’s what I mean with finetuning. First you collect data and then you act accordingly.”
Plasmeijer likes to experiment with sensors to obtain more data on a precision level. Another example: “After we water the Calla’s, we cover the plants with plastic. We never knew exactly what was happening underneath the plastic. Now we have placed a sensor under the plastic that tells us how we can best heat up the greenhouse to create the perfect conditions under the plastic. We are very happy with this data. But only collecting data is not the answer. You have to know how to translate it into actionable insights and learn how to work with it. That’s what we are doing now.”
Plasmeijer shows the colorful calla’s in his greenhouse.