In the summer of 2021, BASF Vegetable Seeds completed its second full growing season in line with the Plant Empowerment philosophy at its Nunhems location in 's-Gravenzande, the Netherlands. With the support of the multidisciplinary team, the crop production strategy has now been put into practice, achieving a total yield of 121 kg per m2.
BASF Vegetable Seeds focuses on what the company calls 'integrated breeding' - combining the knowledge of plant breeders with technology and emerging science. "Our goal is not just to sell seeds, but to provide our customers and the entire chain with innovation, expert advice and knowledge, reliable varieties, profitable concepts, and sustainable solutions. Together with Hoogendoorn Growth Management, one of the Plant Empowerment Implementation Partners, we previously conducted a trial with hydroponic lettuce at our Nunhems location in 's-Gravenzande, the Netherlands, based on autonomous and data-driven growing. The results were so impressive that we decided to try it for tomatoes as well. That's where the other Plant Empowerment Implementation Partners came in," the company states. In October 2019, BASF and all the partners set up a GPE trial on about 500 m2.
In the first year of this project, which started in August 2019, the seed company focused mainly on building its dataset on crop performance as a basis for decision-making. In the 2020/2021 season, BASF tested the Plant Empowerment principles in practice, using the Provine truss tomato variety. At the end of that season, analysis of production data showed that the strategy had produced a total yield of 121 kg per m2, which is almost 40% higher than normal.
The Plant Empowerment Implementation Partners recently helped BASF get the 2021/2022 season started. This time, the Plant Empowerment philosophy is being tested on a different variety: truss cherry tomato Adorion. BASF plans to use all the data to develop a reproducible growing strategy that it can offer to every customer who buys Adorion seeds. This will enable those growers to get the best out of this variety, and hopefully from other varieties in the future.