A new system, introduced by BumperCrop, simplifies data collection and improves decision-making, thus aiming to save scouting teams hours of data collection work each week and is freeing up time to focus on achieving healthier crops. The system consists of an easy-to-use mobile App, scannable row tags, and scout heat maps, and has been designed and tested over the past year in conjunction with a New Zealand greenhouse producer, NZ Gourmet.
“Preparing concise and comprehensive reports is key to successful pest and disease control. By using this App to record and identify problems on crops, we can save time and have better communication with management and other pest control technicians,” explains Hamzeh Ghasemi, Biocontrol Technician at Gourmet Waiuku.
Hamzeh Ghasemi using the BumperCrop Scouting App to scan a tag and begin scouting the row.
Prior to using BumperCrop’s system, NZ Gourmet was recording scouting data using a custom-designed Excel workbook on a tablet. By switching to a purpose-built solution whereby row tags are scanned and only a few taps in the App are required, Gourmet Waiuku can now save an additional 2-3 hours a week of labor. The time taken for data entry relating to one issue on an 85m capsicum row is now only 10-15 seconds. “Handling a compact mobile device in one hand is easier than a tablet and much better than using pen and paper. I have tried all options during three years of work as a biocontrol technician and found this to be the best,” says Hamzeh.
Reports are automatic and are separated from data collection, which enables their format to be optimized for review and decision making. “Having neat and standardized reports helps to save time when compared to the old way,” continues Hamzeh.
Above: heatmap displaying severity level of Thrips for each row and pole
An online heatmap of each greenhouse allows managers to see the status of pests, diseases, and beneficials applied in each row and pole and how these have changed over time. This results in better pest and disease control decision-making and related outcomes. “Scouting reports now arrive automatically in my inbox and are in the precise format that I need to make accurate assessments and decisions” according to Roelf Schreuder, Director of Covered Crops for NZ Gourmet.
The time that is saved by improved data entry, reporting, and expedited decision-making can now be put towards achieving healthier crops. Crop scouting can be divided into the three steps of identification, marking, and recording data. “We prefer to invest more time in the identification of problems on crops and less time on data collection. So, using a system with more time efficiency helps us to achieve a healthier crop,” concludes Hamzeh. BumperCrop solution is available to growers around the world in multiple languages.