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Autonomous Growing: 5% higher yield and new expansion possible

Bresca Hortalizas is a tomato-producing greenhouse company in Puebla, Mexico. The company that produces tomatoes for Mastronardi Sunset has been working with Crop Controller by Blue Radix since July 2021. With Autonomous Growing, they wanted to achieve better control over daily operations and improve predictability. In this interview, Head Grower Manuel Valdes Lara and Grower Karla Denisse Abundis talk more about the added value of Autonomous Growing that they experienced after completing several crop cycles.

Manuel: "Autonomous Growing is an important development for the greenhouse industry in Mexico. The continuous expansion of companies requires qualified personnel to manage the facilities. Autonomous Growing makes the management of bigger sites per grower possible, and it facilitates better yield results and less use of resources. In Mexico, we have very specific weather conditions that we need to manage with a range of non-traditional strategies. The Blue Radix system adapts, helping us achieve our goals, not changing the strategies but making them more efficient."

1.5 hours less office time daily.
"The experience I have working with Crop Controller has been very rewarding for my professional life. In fact, it has helped me reduce office time by at least 1.5 hours a day," says Karla. "I no longer need to analyze all the data and set the climate computer manually. The time saved allows me to focus on implementing improvements in our processes. I can spend more time in the greenhouse and adjust our crop strategy based on the condition of the plants. It also gives me peace of mind when I'm not in the greenhouse. It's so much easier to hand over my work to another grower now that we have secured our crop knowledge and the greenhouse installations are steered autonomously according to our crop plan. Before, we used to make a lot of changes in the greenhouse climate. Now, the climate is much better balanced, which improves the growth of our plants and production. I feel that Crop Controller is a compliment for every grower, not a supplement."

5% more kilos per m2
Karla: "Implementing this technology in our greenhouse has given us the most ideal conditions for the crop to express its best potential. We had good, strong plants with great colors and a lot more tomatoes throughout the crop cycle. Compared to earlier crop cycles, we had at least 5% more kilos per m2 because of Crop Controller. During the crop cycle, the humidity deficit stayed better in balance. As a result, we had fewer issues with mildew, saving us on the use of chemicals as well."

Peace of mind
Manuel: "Crop Controller autonomously controls the installations to reach the targets we defined. For me, as Head Grower, this gives me confidence and peace of mind, and it allows me to focus on other issues going on in the greenhouse. Better and more stable climate management creates good conditions for the crop, and those conditions are easily achieved with the help of Crop Controller. At some stages and in specific weather conditions, I need to adjust the climate strategy, but with Crop Controller, this is fixed quickly and easily."

Greenhouse expansion without hiring new staff
Manuel: "Investing significantly less time in managing the climate and achieving overall good conditions gave us the time and scope to manage other labor challenges and chores in the greenhouse with better results. The confidence provided by Crop Controller gives us freedom and allows us to achieve our current expansion without hiring additional technical staff or experienced growers."

Advice to other growers
Karla: "Considering the results we have had in the company, I am convinced that it's a technology that's well worth implementing. We have reduced costs by having less disease and a better performance and higher yield, as mentioned before. This has benefited both those in charge of the operation and the owners and that has been possible because of the openness to try new technologies."

Crop Controller is a tool, not a threat
Manuel concludes: "The world is changing. We need to embrace those changes to help us succeed. My advice to growers who haven't yet embraced autonomous growing is to give it a chance. Don't be afraid of it - it's a tool, not a threat. We need to become more efficient in every aspect of this industry. Do you want smarter use of resources, better yields and crop quality, and higher profits, and you're facing a lack of crop expertise? If so, you need help. Crop Controller is an excellent tool & service to empower your greenhouse operations."

For more information:
Marijke van Rongen
Blue Radix
Tel.: +31 6 53 43 38 39
[email protected]

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