Footprint Friday – Data-driven Cultivation
How our growers become more environmental friendly…
Our growers grow their plants as sustainably as possible for example with circular breeding pots, less and natural crop protection, geothermal heat, sustainable packaging materials and data-driven cultivation. We believe in the power of cooperation and in transparency. Inspiring and challenging each other, learning from each other and achieving sustainable results together. That is why we are organizing the upcoming months four ‘Footprint Friday’ sessions with our key growers. On Friday the 23th of April the second session took place on the subject of ‘data-driven cultivation’.
OVATA and data-driven cultivation
At the age of 7 Hans Ammerlaan already started growing and selling Crassulas. The passion for plants further developed; for about 34 years now, Hans has been the owner and grower of ‘OVATA pure succulents’. Since 2013, OVATA has been cultivating more and more in harmony with nature. This development is the consequence of a major fire in 2012. After this fire, Hans switched to a new growing strategy to initially be less dependent on cultivation craftsmanship. The new strategy is based, among other things, on the cultivation philosophy “Plant Empowerment”. The cultivation concept focuses on keeping the plant balance in equilibirium. During the cultivation process, data is continuously collected and analyzed to determine how greenhouse conditions influence the crop performance. This data is used as the basis for the subsequent decision making.
Knowledge is power
A plant is by nature resilient to pests and diseases. Data provides new insights into how the plants are doing in the greenhouse. Based on data, the natural vigour of plants, both above ground and in the root zone, can be enhanced by creating optimal growth conditions.
“Data-driven cultivation means having control,” according Hans. “You can make decisions based on facts. That is why we are increasingly moving away from a strategy only based on green fingers. For example, we no longer have to determine what the climate feels like, but we get information about it from data. Subsequently, decision-making no longer needs to be discussed; knowledge is power, after all.”
The figures and data that come out of the greenhouse still have to be translated. The data analyst of OVATA can translate this data into useful information via dashboards. On the basis of which the production experts make decisions again. “You can see that the playing field in the greenhouse is changing and we now have employees who have very different qualities than was needed 20 years ago.”, according to Hans.
How is the data collected?
“The energy balance is important in OVATA’s cultivation strategy,” says Hans. “How the plants are doing in the greenhouse can all be traced back to this energy balance. That is why light and temperature measurements are extremely important. These measurements are carried out continuously, and adjustments are made automatically when the energy balance does not differ from the correct target values. The adjustments are controlled with various tools, such as ventilators, screen cloth and a fogging system.”
“More data is collected by, among other things, measurements of the water system and fertilization analyzes. These measurements also become transparent in dashboards and make the plant’s resilience stronger. ”
Biggest advantages of data-driven cultivation
“By data-driven cultivation I have control over the cultivation, I can control, refine and make savings” tells Hans. This cultivation strategy makes OVATA less dependent on cultivation craftsmanship. The use of resources such as water, energy and crop protection products will decrease and at the same time a more optimal production is achieved by cultivating on the basis of data: “this cultivation strategy is therefore for sure a sustainable strategy”.
Our growers help the Netherlands to become more and more sustainable.
Let’s plantify the future. Together.