At the organic horticultural company BioVerbeek, temperature in the greenhouse is accurately monitored with sensors from the Taiwanese company Nietzsche, distributed in the Netherlands by Hotraco Horti and Climeco. Leo Verbeek says: "Normally, growers can only see afterwards where mistakes have been made, but now we have an immediate overview."
This year, Hotraco Horti and Climeco showcased the Clima-Scan at Green Tech in Amsterdam. The Clima-Scan is a set of wireless temperature and humidity sensors which can accurately monitor the greenhouse climate. Rob Wientjens, consultant at Climeco, has been engaged in the development of the system for several years. About four years ago, he became aware of the potential. "For growers, there was a great need for production support based on concrete data; therefore, we looked at what the best available system was, which turned out to be the sensors of the Taiwanese company Nietzsche."
"They are flexible, waterproof and the price is right. Besides, they are height-adjustable and use conventional batteries, which makes them user-friendly and keeps annual costs low." Nietzsche's sensors were originally developed for open field cultivation, and adapted for use in greenhouse horticulture in cooperation with Hotraco Horti and HG Innovative Solutions. "We have provided the sensor with a filter cap to protect it from moisture as well as harmful and oxidant substances. The sensor can also be placed in a pipe to shield it from sunlight. The communication software has been optimised to make it more reliable and minimise energy consumption," says Jan Christiaens, of Hotraco Horti.
Disparity in the greenhouse
The sensors have been used since 2012 in the greenhouse of the organic grower BioVerbeek. Humidity is controlled by applying heated air on the crop. In combination with the dual screens, this can save more than 20% of the costs. For grower Leo Verbeek, this new way of growing took some getting used to. "We had no experience with the system and actually we have never had so much disparity in the greenhouse as when we just started with this new one," he says. "It seems as if the effect of one or two degrees cooler is further strengthened with the new system. We really needed to learn to work with it and the sensors made it easier. Normally you see afterwards where you have made mistakes, but then there's nothing you can do. Now we have an immediate overview. At this time of the year not much is going on in the greenhouse, but in the winter and spring I look at it every day."Temperature
The sensors measure both temperature and humidity, but Verbeek does not yet make much use of the latter. "Maybe in the future we can do more with it, to see if you have any risk areas, but we grow on the ground, so humidity at night is always very high. We are taking it step by step, first looking at how to prevent temperature disparities. "On 2 hectares we have set up 42 sensors. "We can eliminate problems in the crop at once, even though in the course of the year you'll still have to face other issues. We don't only want to solve problems, but rather fine-tune the cultivation process."
Nietzsche Enterprise Co., Ltd.
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