Scientists predict that in 2050 the world’s population will grow to 9 billion. To feed all those people, more food has to be produced, while the space for growing it reduces because of salinization of the ground and climate changes. The combination of  less available space and an increasing demand in clean and safe food, make young plant growers become even more important.

Flier Systems foresees an increase in the worldwide need of mechanization and automation to help tackle the food challenges. The company therefore investigated in a research to find out what young plant growers need to be able to grow as good as possible. This research was conducted by Wilbert van den Berk, student garden and agriculture at HAS University. He interviewed a big group of young plant growers to investigate the importance of use of monitoring in optimizing and innovating the cultivation process.

At this moment, 25% of the worldwide harvest is still going to waste due to challenges and problems in the total cultivation process (from seed to fruit).  For a positive effect on a sustainable future, innovations and automatization of these processes are key. We do however experience all kinds of preconditions, such as the difficulty and preciseness of the cultivation. Especially for fruity vegetables with different cultivation processes and a required different approach per type.

Many preconditions

The number of elements that are important for growing a better fruit vegetable plant is very extensive. For example the type of seed, the selection of the viable plants, the homogeneous watering of the stone wool blocks, the tilt of the plant, the diameter and depth of the plug hole, the PH of the water and so many more factors are crucial for growing a strong and uniform young plant. Additionally, all processes are linked to each other. If something is not optimal in one certain step of the process, it may have a huge effect on all the remaining steps and on the final result. To control and optimize all steps in the process, it is important to gather data. Data is crucial to get insight. Without proper data it is not possible to determine what is needed in the process to grow a better plant.

There is a shift in trends at the moment, instead of tracing a group of plants it becomes more and more important to trace every individual plant. In every step of the production process. Almost 91% of the interviewed group indicates this trend and sees this as a major challenge. A challenge for which they need the help and experience of Flier Systems on how to conduct and use these machine data.

 

Importance of grading/sorting

Innovations in the field of sorting and transplanting are an important addition to optimizing the growing process. Take for example Flier Systems Young Plant Sorter. This machine sorts the young plants in 4 different classifications and is more accurate than a person could ever be. Before actually sorting the plants in their classification, it first has to be determined in which classification they belong. This decision-making process is called grading. The grading is done by a highly intelligent Aris camera system. Instead of using color pixels (RGB) to separate the background from the object, the Aris system uses CF: chlorophyll fluorescent. By using this technology the precision of measuring is much more accurate. And less dependent from the skills of the user.  Aris Vision Systems also makes  more and more use of Artificial Intelligence like deep learning to improve the prediction of the grading outcome. These methods  provide a distinctive sorting result that highly improves the quality of young plants.

Young plant growers are the worlds future. Automatization becomes more and more important and an increasingly amount of young plant growers needs and wants automatization of the process. Wilbert’s research showed that it is also important that young plant growers are involved in the development and automatization of the processes. This involvement will improve innovations and will finally help in the search for enough, available food worldwide. Flier Systems want to help them grow. We do realize that every young plant grower is different and has different needs, challenges and requirements. We strive however to find solutions for young plant growers to optimize their cultivation processes and help them becoming better suppliers. We do this, because we have a passion for young plant automation, it’s part of our DNA!