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Gerco van Zuilen, Berrybrothers, about the Growficient sensors:

"We save one or two irrigation shots per day and have less fruit splitting"

While visiting Growficient's website, Gerco van Zuilen came across an acquaintance. He decided to call his fellow grower to ask what he really thought of Growficient. We are now three years further, and all the Berrybrothers' raspberries are running with our sensors. Gerco tells us about his experiences.

Berrybrothers is a soft fruit grower. It specialises in redcurrants, but the Dutch company also produces blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries. As the name suggests, Berrybrothers is a family business. Founded in 1980 by Gerco's father, Gerco and his brother took over the company in 2005.

Despite extensive experience in growing soft fruit, extra insight is always welcome. That's why Berrybrothers uses Growficient's sensors. Gerco explains why he chose this: "Our raspberries were sometimes too wet. That led to fruit splitting. We couldn't sell those. To improve irrigation, we started using Growficient's sensors. We initially started small, but now all raspberries have sensors."

This soon provided new insights. Gerco: "Since we have been working with the sensors, we stopped irrigating much earlier. We used to water the last plants at e.g. 4 p.m., but if the sun was still shining after that, we usually decided to irrigate again. Thanks to the sensors, we saw that this is not necessary at all. We now save at least one or two shots a day. That not only saves water but also electricity and fertiliser. And, also important: we have less fruit splitting."

Work more efficiently due to the Plant Activity module
Gerco is especially happy with the convenience the sensors offer him. He says, "Before, I often used to go to the greenhouse and feel whether the plants had enough water. I was still in the greenhouse at 9 or 10 pm in the evening and again early the next morning. Now that's no longer necessary. Of course, I still feel the substrate sometimes, but I also know that the numbers we see on the dashboard are correct. That gives me peace of mind."

On the Growficient dashboard, Gerco and his colleagues look at graphs showing not only the moisture but also the temperature and EC. Recently, they also started using the Plant Activity module. Gerco: "With this module, we can see when the plants are active and thus the best moment to start irrigation. This all happens automatically. This means we get better-quality fruit and can work more efficiently."

Good Service
After several growing seasons with the sensors, Gerco is still happy with his decision. Cooperation with Growficient is also going well. Gerco: "The sensors actually always work well. But if something is wrong, I can just call and it is solved quickly. That's nice. In addition, the system works very easily. Installation is almost automatic, and expansion is super fast. I am enthusiastic."

Gerco shares that enthusiasm with fellow growers. He says: "I regularly tell others about Growficient's sensors. And I only do that because I really believe in it. A blackberry grower here in the neighbourhood also started using the sensors. He experiences it just as positively as I do. If I can help others this way, I am happy to do so."

And the future? Gerco is already considering expansion: "We now have Growficient's sensors only in raspberries, but the plan is to start using them in the other soft fruits as well. Before that, however, it must be possible to start the irrigation systems based on the sensor data. Once we can do that, we will roll it out further. Purely because of the convenience it gives us in raspberries. I want that everywhere."

For more information:
Tel: +31 626 084 847
[email protected]

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