While Plantonomy is still in development, it is already proving its value in practice on about 40 hectares of commercial vegetable cultivation, spread across farms in the Netherlands, Canada, Mexico and the United States. Currently, Plantonomy is suitable for growing tomatoes and peppers, but the developers are working on an application for cucumber and (greenhouse) strawberry cultivation.
Same production and quality, far fewer settings
We see that Plantonomy-controlled greenhouses achieve at least the same production and quality as those controlled in the conventional way. Because Plantonomy controls a large part of the climate settings autonomously, the grower is left with more time to arrange other things or control a larger area. The first years in practice have provided insights, with which the cultivation results (production, quality) can be further optimized. This knowledge will be applied in the next growing season.
Difference in crop development
When working with Plantonomy, crop development is different. The climate controls are feed-forward to anticipate the needs of the plant according to its biorhythm. This results in fewer disruptions in growth and a harmonious crop development. A trus of tomatoes, for example, develops very regularly and each flower results in a fruit. This makes quality and yield more predictable, but the grower must also take this into account in with crop maintenance activities.
In addition to advantages in predictability and scalability, we have seen other remarkable results in practice. During the extremely hot days last summer, a tomato greenhouse controlled with Plantonomy remained about two degrees cooler than the outside temperature. Plantonomy thus enabled the crop to transpire and cool itself very well. One grower showed a positive difference in root quality compared to greenhouses not controlled with Plantonomy. This seems to show that evaporation-controlled growing also contributes to the development of strong and healthy roots.
Growing at lower temperatures and saving energy
Plantonomy can have a positive impact on energy consumption. By controlling plant's evaporation evenly in a biorhythm, we see less disturbances in the behavior of water uptake. Even when the temperature of the greenhouse air becomes lower, this behavior continues and it is not always necessary to heat the air for equal use of assimilates. In this way, the same development can be achieved with lower 24-hour temperatures.
By maintaining an active climate during the night combined with the proper use of screens, the use of heating pipes during the night can be significantly reduced.
During the past growing season, we saw energy savings of 20% and more at some tomato farms. To achieve the best results, a double screen installation is needed.
Teus Jan de Jong, Program Manager Plantonomy: 'Currently we are following the results in the colder season with great interest. It would be fantastic if we could achieve such results year-round and thus contribute to making the sector more sustainable.'
Based on an innovative cultivation method
Plantonomy is based on Priva's Biologics for plant growth, an innovative cultivation method for achieving cultivation goals by controlling the water balance of plants. The unique starting point of Priva's Biologics for plant growth is a feed-forward control of greenhouse climate and water supply, based on water uptake, water retention and transpiration of the crop. The control follows the plant's 24-hour rhythm in terms of growth and crop development and can be tailored to the cultivation goals the grower wants to achieve. Read more about Priva’s Biologics for plant growth.
Currently, Plantonomy can be used for companies in Europe and North America.