The more you measure, the more you know
Better growing with Log & Solve
With Log & Solve we have succeeded in providing growers not only with the substrate but also with the right control for perfect growth. In an interview, Co-Anne van Waaij and Fons van Nierop (both Klasmann-Deilmann Benelux) talked about Log & Solve and the user benefits it brings.
The changes in the market are increasingly noticeable. The demands on growing media are growing – consistent results despite less peat. Nurseries are also re-sorting themselves. They are getting bigger and work in more than one location. In order to provide our customers not only with the substrate, but also with the right support, we developed the Log & Solve software in 2018, and the benefits speak for themselves: easy monitoring of crops and remote advice, are just a few reasons.
Where do you start if you want to use Log & Solve as a grower?
Co-Anne: You should think beforehand what you want to use the software for and with which features this can be measured.
Should it be possible to retrieve the same information at the different locations? Do you want knowledge about cultivation to be recorded and documented for good and easier sharing? Do you want to be able to record a growing strategy and make informed adjustments?
Growers’ ideas vary widely in this regard. While for some of our customers the diameter of the bulb is crucial, for others the length of the leaf is the focus. But that is also what makes our program so special – our customers’ goals and ideas are the benchmark, and they can adapt Log & Solve to them.
If the user is clear about what he wants to do with the acquired knowledge and how it can help him in the future, the more effective and better Log & Solve can be used. However, to ensure that our customers have all the tools they need in their work, we obtain regular feedback and then make appropriate changes.
What does it require from the grower?
Co-Anne: The grower has to get into the rhythm. We have made the program as simple as possible and ensured that users have many choices that they just have to click on at the end. It is fast, consistent and intuitive.
In the app, they can then record what actions took place, what fertilizer was added and when, and they can also document the crop with pictures. We can also provide customers with a substrate analysis, suitable for the growing media they are using. This works without any problem via link in the meantime.
When a new culture is created, they do it as usual and then add pictures, their own notes and information in the app. In order to adjust the monitoring accordingly to the needs of each individual, some questions are asked at the beginning. However, the answers are pre-made, and they just have to click on them. This is particularly easy, and in their company, everyone ends up working with the same terms. This takes a little getting used to, but once everything is customized, they do not want to work any other way.
That does sound like a lot of work.
Co-Anne: That’s not the case. Rather, it’s an experience. Some growers create a QR code for a specific crop, just scan it and then add the information via cell phone. The program can also be customized to meet individual needs. For example, you can monitor fertilization and the concentration, area and quantity are saved and controlled in the next step. In short, it’s all very simple and fast, and in the end you can find everything in the log, which is generated automatically.
Comparison tool for commercial horticulture
Is Log & Solve interesting for every grower?
Fons: You can’t say that across the board – it’s more a question of type. The younger generation in particular is used to controlling everything on their mobile phones, so Log & Solve is especially interesting for them. But I wouldn’t reject the program to anyone. If someone is interested in Log & Solve, we would be happy to sit down with them and see what is possible in this area.
What developments have taken place in the last two years and which are still to come?
Fons: The whole process has been an evolution. The basis of the program is the soil analysis and the rest was built on top of that. The software is a combination of the analyses with textual and visual elements. This was developed further and further, and the wishes of our customers were also given special consideration.
For example, one request was to have a comparison tool so that crops could be compared with each other. They wanted to know how previous crops developed that were cultivated in a different location or greenhouse, for example. This tool now exists.
Co-Anne: And this development is still going on. We want to add the possibility of a smart alarm that indicates when an action should be taken. It will also be possible to see automatically at the beginning of a new crop what is likely to happen or needs to happen in it. This is based on the previous inputs inserted by the grower.
Are external links also possible?
Co-Anne: We already created the connection to a link, more are on the way. For example, the weather is to be accessed via a link so that people can look at the weather conditions in a particular week.
Those who want to, can also share the data with our account managers or external consultants so that they can provide advice remotely. But the key thing is that the customer owns their data, so they decide what to do with it.
Sensors can also be linked to the software, which then indicate when critical changes occur. It does not matter which sensors are used.
What do your customers think?
Fons: Customers think along with us and actively use Log & Solve. Growers appreciate the ability to compare crops and data and are continuously improving their growing strategy. We are also continuously improving. For example, we are now trying to explore how we can make the software smarter so that the system works for the grower and makes suggestions on its own. We also have a desire to implement task scheduling. It is good to see that we can also roll out Log & Solve more and more internationally. There is already a lot of interest in Belgium, Germany and the UK. We will of course continue to be a substrate producer and with Log & Solve we help growers beyond that.
Van Woudenberg Tuinplanten
Field report Log & Solve
At the nursery “Van Woudenberg Tuinplanten”, Log & Solve has been part of the daily work routine since the fall of 2019. The growers Hans van Beek and Jaap Breugem, who work at the company, now use the software on a daily basis. In an interview for a Dutch magazine, they talk about their experiences.
How and why did you start using Log & Solve?
Breugem: It all started as part of a pilot project. We did some trials on different crops and after a successful trial period, the software was rolled out across the entire company.
Before that, each location recorded its data in its own way, and it was difficult to retrieve and compare the data in a reasonable way. Experience and important information were not shared with other sites, although this is important for continuous improvement in the future. Thanks to Log & Solve, this is no longer a problem, and our growing strategy and growing cycles are constantly improving – this is a real success for us.
From Reactive to Proactive
How do you use Log & Solve?
Van Beek: When new plants are potted, we immediately create a crop in Log & Solve, recording basic information such as location and pot week etc. As time goes on, more photos and notes are added about developments, problems and other measures such as cultivation actions and plant protection. In the end, you have a good overview. The best thing about the software is that we can do all this from our cell phones, and it is very easy to use.
Also the management has a direct access to the data and can get an overview of the current situation.
Breugem: In addition, we have recently started using sensors to keep a better eye on water management. They determine the optimal time for irrigation and provide more security in the irrigation strategy.
How do you experience the use of Log & Solve?
Breugem: It is very easy and quick to use, and registration also works without any problems. Each culture has a QR code. We scan it and the photos and notes are added directly to the correct culture. A lot of recurring information that is added to the app time and again is already available in the program as an answer option and we just must click on it. Everyone in the company can then access this information and add more.
What short-term gains have you made with Log & Solve?
Van Beek: With Log & Solve, managing the crop is no longer a hassle. On the contrary, it is easy and we end up with orderly results. Data is conveniently stored per batch and all information can easily be found. Crop data is readable and traceable for everyone on the farm. Errors are detected faster and easier and the results help to optimize a new cultivation strategy.
Can you tell us something about Log & Solve’s software development?
Van Beek: The program was tailored to the needs of us growers and you can see that when you use it. The ideas and improvements we came up with were realized or implemented immediately. In the short term, I hope that the automatic generation of a cultivation protocol will be possible. This will give us the input that we need to start a new crop. In the future, more functions will be added, such as the creation of new tasks. The goal for Log & Solve is to become smarter and smarter, and then make suggestions to us about what steps to take next. That would be a real added value for us. We are definitely excited to see what else the team comes up with in the future and we are happy to be a part of the process.
Van Woudenberg Tuinplanten also has a production site in Portugal, which is now monitored through physical visits, sent photos and separate messages. In the near future, Log & Solve will also be used there to be able to follow and monitor the cultures remotely. This exchange of knowledge between the sites abroad and in the Netherlands will be more efficient and clearer because of Log & Solve.