Reaping the benefits of autonomous growing

11 July 2024 | Int. Greenhouse Guide | Delphy

Growing soft fruit is becoming increasingly data driven. Where the climate computer used to be the primary source of information, today we see a multitude of sensors and applications that offer the grower deeper insights for further optimisation of production.

To take this development to a higher level, Growficient, Delphy, VDL and YieldComputer joined forces last year. Together we want to make a significant contribution to the concept of autonomous growing. All 4 parties bring proven expertise in the agri-sector: Delphy with specialist cultivation planning and management software and as an experienced research institution, Growficient as an irrigation monitoring specialist, VDL with robotics, mechatronics and manufacturing expertise, and YieldComputer as a builder of solutions for optimal prediction processes for both growers and cooperatives.

Autonomous growing
Within the project “De vruchten plukken van autonoom telen” we are developing a solution that supports growers in their irrigation strategy. With the aim of autonomous control of the irrigation. This is supported by substrate sensors, static cameras, measurements in the field and a robot (equipped with various sensors and a camera). For example, data is collected in various places in the cash register. New information is extracted from this data using smart computer algorithms and calculation models. Think of automatic fruit counts, harvest forecasts, plant balance, water intake and water requirements. In order to arrive at an adapted irrigation strategy and an accurate harvest forecast.

The role of Delphy
Within this project, the Delphy Digital team is delivering an advanced software system and measurement method that can be used to track all relevant information about strawberry cultivation. This information includes plant data, such as plant load, growth period, LAI and fruit weight. In addition, climate data, cultivation plan and data about the greenhouse itself are also collected and presented in an interactive application. By means of the underlying growth model, the plant’s needs are continuously mapped during cultivation and predicted for the future. This extensive dataset and associated insights form a basis for the development of technical solutions that bring the step towards autonomous cultivation closer.
Would you like more information about this project? Please contact Joost Scholten or Vera Theelen.

Financial support by OpZuid EFRO
Due to the highly innovative nature of this solution, the EU has decided to support the project from the OPZuid EFRO Programme. As a consortium, we are proud of this recognition and are fully committed to making this project a success for the European agricultural sector.

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