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Priva TopCrop Monitor – the first fruit on the TopCrop tree

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Priva TopCrop Monitor – the first fruit on the TopCrop tree

Thanks to this new control instrument, we have succeeded in improving the quality of our product”Ruben van der Lugt – Dynaplant

With the introduction of Priva TopCrop Monitor, we have launched a new control instrument to help growers achieve their growing objectives. TopCrop Monitor visualises crop activity by comparing the temperature of the plant with the ambient temperature. After a successful pilot project in the Netherlands with 12 diverse growers, this well-balanced concept is now also available for international growers.

Priva TopCrop Monitor  is the first - very promising - result of the TopCrop innovation program that Priva initiated a few years ago. In this innovative program, Priva is working on the development of solutions based on what is happening in the plant itself. "This is innovative, because growers have become used to controlling the growth of the crop by analysing the plant's ambient climate and then basing their actions on this," says Priva researcher Patrick Dankers. Dankers worked on the development of Priva TopCrop Monitor together with Peter Kamp, who set up the Priva TopCrop Innovation program.

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Growing has become more complex

"Over the course of time, growing has become much more complex. While in the 1980s, growers were still working with an analogue controller with rotary knobs, a lot has changed in the intervening decades," says Dankers. "More and more things have been added that can be controlled using a process computer. "For instance a process computer can control all CO2, screening, air treatment, humidification and growing light. And that's without even mentioning the inter-relationships between these systems and their ultimate effects on the crop."

Successful pilot project

A pilot project at 12 horticulture companies has been recently successfully completed. Ruben van der Lugt of Dynaplant, one of the participants in the pilot, is enthusiastic about the results of deploying Priva TopCrop Monitor. "We had a lot of problems with brown leaf tip burn in our Clivia crop. In addition, the flowering rate was much lower than we would have liked." Thanks to new insights obtained from using Priva TopCrop Monitor, Van der Lugt was able to adjust his growing strategy. "We adapted our water dosage and started screening according to a different plan. We have now achieved a rate of 98% without leaf tip burn."

Higher quality, more flowering and less labour

After the problem of leaf tip burn had been resolved, it appeared that the flowering rate was still too low. An analysis of the Priva TopCrop Monitor graphs showed that the crop was too vegetative. "The flower bud was not growing, because the water on the bud was transpiring insufficiently," says Van der Lugt, who succeeded in increasing the percentage of flowering plants from around 50% to approximately 85% by adjusting the growing strategy. Dynaplant's crop manager is also pleased with the new control instrument. "Thanks to Priva TopCrop Monitor, we have succeeded in improving the quality of our product, substantially increasing the flowering rate, and we no longer need to manually cut off leaf tip burn. That saves on labour."

Increase in awareness

According to Van der Lugt, the great strength of Priva TopCrop Monitor is that it makes growers much more aware of what they are doing. "We now talk much less about gut feeling." Dankers shares this view. "Even in the case of horticulture companies with several sites, it makes the discussion of the exact effect of cultivation measures much clearer."

Scale for crop activity

To provide an insight into the activity of the crop, Priva has developed a crop activity scale.