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User story

Nursery Aarts

Gerard Aarts already started in 2013 with exploring the principles of Next Generation Growing, the precursor of Plant Empowerment. “I started with the course to better understand how it all works. It is actually not that complicated, but you do have to know where to pay attention to.”

"By applying Plant Empowerment we realized big energy savings, but the biggest advantage is that we have far fewer problems with diseases, as a result of which crop yield and quality are also higher.”

Gerard Aarts Nursery Aarts

Since 2013

Applying the principles

The perfect illustration of an innovative grower is Gerard Aarts. A nice example is the packing robot, of which the first prototype was built at Kwekerij Aarts. Gerard is constantly searching for new ways to improve and simplify the cultivation of cucumbers and tomatoes. Due to this innovative approach, Gerard already started in 2013 with exploring the principles of Next Generation Growing, the precursor of Plant Empowerment. “I started with the course to better understand how it all works. It is actually not that complicated, but you do have to know where to pay attention to.”

Optimizing crop health

The essence of Plant Empowerment is optimize crop growth and crop health, by supporting the plant balances. “It is about keeping the plant active and in balance, that is the purpose of everything. In addition you want to realize a high production and certainly not suffer more from diseases than before.”

When the sun suddenly emerges, the greenhouse temperature can rise quickly at once. The fruits of the plant heat up less quickly, causing the fruit temperature to lag behind the greenhouse temperature. At the same time crop evaporation starts, causing the absolute humidity of the greenhouse air to rise. This combination of factors can cause condensation on the fruits. Pests and diseases can develop rapidly in the wet areas of the fruits, which is why crop condensation should be avoided. At Kwekerij Aarts they used to have problems with fungal diseases, like mycosphaerella and botrytis. Meanwhile, by applying the principles of Plant Empowerment Gerard is able to control the moisture management in the greenhouse in such a way that the tomato cultivation is completed without a single case of botrytis. Mycosphaerella outbreaks have also become a thing of the past in the cucumber cultivation. “That is because we always keep the plant active and at the same time have a good humidity control.”

Moisture balance

One of the goals of Plant Empowerment is promoting plant health. Avoiding crop condensation is one of the essential aspects to achieve this. To assess condensation risk you need to know the course of the moisture balance of the greenhouse in relation to the temperature of the plant and the fruits. The crop condensation module of the Hoogendoorn Growth Management process computer is an essential tool for Gerard to avoid condensation. This module monitors the energy and moisture balance of the greenhouse related to the fruit temperature, and intervenes when the risk of crop condensation becomes too big. “With the application of the Plant Empowerment principles, we grow with a lower moisture deficit. This means we work closer to the condensation temperature. The crop condensation module is my emergency break, which intervenes when the condensation risk becomes too big.”

Big energy savings and a healthy crop

“What we have learned from Plant Empowerment is to take everything easy; avoid ups and downs. Some growers spend the entire day making panic adjustments to their climate control. I set up my Hoogendoorn process computer according to the principles of Plant Empowerment. The computer manages everything, makes sure the crop and greenhouse remain in balance,​and pulls the emergency break if necessary. By applying Plant Empowerment we realized big energy savings, but the biggest advantage is that we have far fewer problems with diseases, as a result of which crop yield and quality are also higher.”

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  • Westlandseweg 190
  • 3131 HX Vlaardingen
  • The Netherlands