Skadi Menne

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.