The use of robots in greenhouses has increased compared to the previous year - at the same time, one in five gardeners states that they lack personnel. But is robotization the short-term solution to staff shortages?
Robots in greenhouse horticulture
A total of 11% of gardeners use robots for cultivation in greenhouses. This is almost 3% more than in 2018. 2.6% of respondents say they will invest in robotics in the future.
Spraying robots most popular
The most frequently used robots in greenhouse horticulture are spray robots (24.7%). In addition to spraying robots, robots are used for planting, planting and harvesting (22.2%). Packaging robots (11.7%) and stacking robots (3.7%) are also used.
Shortage of personnel
In the same study, 23% of greenhouse growers indicated that they were more likely to suffer from staff shortages. The question is whether robotization can be the solution to the shortage. According to ABN AMRO Insights, mechanisation and innovation simply mean fewer people, and their numbers have indeed been declining for years in agriculture. However, this is not always the answer, as harvesting fruit and vegetables is less easy to mechanize than harvesting arable products, for example.
According to ABN AMRO, robotization is not a solution for short-term staff shortages: "Although innovations are taking place in horticulture, such as the use of robots that harvest ripe fruit with image recognition, the applications are still relatively limited and the costs considerable. In the long run, however, mechanized harvesting could be made easier by product processing. From this point of view, robotization will only provide a long-term solution to the shortage of personnel in this sector".
The figures come from the Greenhouse Horticulture Update by AgriDirect, the annual telephone survey of Dutch nurseries in the greenhouse. More than 1,400 greenhouse horticulturists answered questions about robots and personnel, among other things.