Algorithms help growers determine cultivation strategies

Are we going to use lights or not? How many rods per m2 should I start with? These are all things tomato growers need to consider. Not only in the Netherlands, but also abroad. Whatever decision you make, don’t trust your intuition.

“Support your crop choice with data. Make it measurable. And look at it from the plant’s perspective,” advises Max van den Hemel, cultivation engineer at Delphy Digital (pictured below). This Dutch company is working hard to make digitization increasingly important in culture. The QMS – Quality Management System – is a good example. These algorithms help growers build different scenarios based on their cultivation strategies.

tomato SMQ
QMS gives producers the tools to save energy and thus arrive at an optimal starting scenario. It ensures that no unnecessary energy is consumed. You can enter the desired fruit weight, number of fruits, climate strategy, location in the world, variety and number of stems in the QMS tomato.

It then calculates a plan using your location’s long-term average light per location. “The input from breeders is essential because we can then capture the genetic information. This data is included in the algorithm. After all, every variety is different.”

The model then determines the amount of light needed, both for outdoor and artificial light, the duration of plant development and growth, plant load and expected production.

Once the cultivation has started, you can use the adaptive strategy to update the cultivation strategy with the data realized (climate and plant registration). “This allows you to make timely adjustments to the cultivation strategy,” says Max.

User experience
Dutch seed supplier Nunhems BASF uses QMS Tomato. “We’ve been working with him for over a year now,” says sales manager Erwin de Kok (pictured right), “and we’re delighted.”

According to him, this is because the system offers a new dimension to discussions with producers. “We can offer real added value. The program helps us effectively communicate our strategic vision to producers. As a result, two growers have adjusted their cultivation plans.

“Experience naturally plays a role in our regular discussions about culture. However, being able to back up our vision and make it visual using the QMS helps tremendously. Especially in unusual situations, like a start date of irregular cultivation”, explains Erwin.

One of the advantages of QMS is that it can be used depending on the variety. “Genes all react differently to different situations.” Also, Erwin saw data-driven culture management as a good development. “You base your choices more on facts, not feelings; you start from real data points. Of course, having a green thumb is always important. So there is a trade-off. But data certainly opens up an interesting future” , he continues. .

Another benefit, especially for a company like Nunhems BASF with its many varieties and segments, is being able to check the database to see how things have gone. “It’s fantastic. I also see it as a culture strategy development tool. Also, new sales people can use it to progress quickly; the system teaches them how to do that,” Erwin concludes. Colleagues around the world can benefit from the QMS, thanks to the training provided by Delphy.

For more information:
Max van den Hemel
Tel: +31 (0) 317 491 578
Email: [email protected]

Erwin de Kok
Nunhems BASF
Mobile: +31 (0) 614 427 646
Tel: +31 (0) 475 599 222
Email: [email protected]

Sharon D. Cole