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Grower receives advance warning when soil becomes too dry

Thanks to sensors, growers can see whether the soil of their crops grow is moist enough in real-time. But that actually means they are always just a little too late. If the soil is too dry, there can already be potential damage. The Business Unit Greenhouse Horticulture and Flower Bulbs of Wageningen University & Research are developing a system that predicts whether the water content in the soil will drop below a certain threshold in the coming hour. If necessary, the grower will receive an early warning, for example by email.

The system uses moisture sensors and artificial intelligence (AI) to predict the quantity of water in the substrate or the soil. Based on historical data, an algorithm learns how the amount of water develops due to moisture absorption by the crop and possible evaporation. These insights are combined with real-time measurements by the sensors.

Photo: Nele Marx 

On a website, growers can see graphs showing the recent and expected development of the moisture content. In addition, a grower can specify a threshold value for sending a warning. After all, what constitutes a suitable moisture content depends on the crop and the grower's preferences, among other things. If the threshold value is reached within one hour, the grower will receive an alert via email. So, there is plenty of time to intervene. Furthermore, the system indicates whether all sensors are still connected and transmit their measurements.

Online tool
The online tool is now working. In the coming period, WUR will work on fine-tuning the algorithm. The tool is expected to be ready in the spring of 2023 for further demonstration at grower's sites. It is not yet known when the tool will be available on the market.

For more information:
Wageningen University & Research


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