On December 20, 2019 the second edition of the Autonomous Greenhouse Challenge organized by Wageningen University started. Within six months five teams are competing to remotely grow the most kilograms of cherry tomatoes, of good quality, with minimum use of resources. Van der Hoeven Horticultural Projects is competing in the Autonomous Greenhouse Challenge together with Hoogendoorn Growth Management, TU Delft and KeyGene. As team AuTomatoes they strive to achieve the highest profit and win the challenge.
Based on their collective multidisciplinary knowledge team AuTomatoes hypothesized that a higher stem density would be beneficial for crop growth. Therefore, they chose to grow their tomato crop with a higher stem density than is normally used in the Netherlands. So far this is working perfectly; the plants look vigorous and healthy!
The main focus for team AuTomatoes is based on the plant. Intelligent algorithms are used to drive the greenhouse controls. By means of sensor generated data the plants provide feedback to the team. Based on this feedback, the algorithms are adjusted to create an optimum growth climate. Next to realizing the best possible production with excellent quality, the team also focusses on maximizing the resource use efficiency, i.e. produce more with less.
The focus on both the plant and resource use efficiency has proven to be successful: this week team AuTomatoes harvested their first cherry tomatoes! This first harvest is promising for the remainder of the Autonomous Greenhouse Challenge. The team is learning, optimizing and creating innovations. We follow our strategies and we are confident about the results.”