Dutch Agricultural research center Vertify was one of the first to work with Plantonomy, Priva's technology for autonomous growing, as part of a pilot. Cor van Staalduinen, Vertify's operations manager, has been involved in the use of Plantonomy in tomato cultivation from the beginning. Where he was skeptical at first, he now trusts the program completely and benefits from the peace of mind and convenience it gives him.
From skepticism to full confidence
The trial started at Vertify about a year and a half ago. Vertify is an agricultural research center in the field of applied research, located in the World Horti Center. This was a big change at the time for manager Cor van Staalduinen. Plantonomy alters settings based on the needs of the plant and it does this all by itself, automatically. Cor explains how he was skeptical at the beginning of the process: "I found it hard to believe that a program could do it better than me. Until I noticed that the crop was always in perfect shape and that it saved me time. It has been running well for over a year now and I trust the system completely!"
Ease of use and stability
Where growers normally have to regularly alter settings, this is no longer necessary with Plantonomy. Cor: "The program now makes the choices for me that I previously had to make on a daily basis. For example, I don't have to think about whether I'm going to heat at 18 degrees or 20 degrees and how much water I give every day. For example, if you want to grow more generatively, you normally have to change about 20 to 30 settings. With Plantonomy, it's just one. I fully trust the program to act proactively, faster than I could myself. Plantonomy makes the right decisions for the plant based on factual information." This is done automatically, which means you have to spend less time adjusting settings. "That provides peace of mind. In myself, but also with regard to the development of the crop, the company, and the result. Especially in tomato cultivation, this stable development of the crop is very important," says Cor.
Scaling up becomes easier
Besides ease of use and stability, Plantonomy has other advantages. It offers large growers the possibility to further scale up. One grower can therefore more easily manage larger greenhouses or multiple locations. Cor: "This is a big plus when you consider that experienced growers are scarce nowadays. With the help of Plantonomy, it becomes a lot easier to grow your business because specific knowledge is no longer necessary."
Technology as an ally
Autonomous growing is a hot topic in the horticultural sector and more and more parties are investing in this development. Where the early adopters from the sector have already experienced success, most are still skeptical. When Cor speaks to other growers, he often hears, ‘That program can't beat me.’ "I get that because you have to see it first before you believe it. Thanks to my experience, I now see the success of Plantonomy and believe that the program is an ally". The program is not a substitute for the grower but takes tasks off his hands. "Adjusting at a detailed level or having to make half-degree adjustments is no longer necessary. By partly handing over the work, you become even better and can focus on important matters, such as: Where do I want to go with my business? Which nutrients and crop protection products do I use?”
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