“We only start something if we can measure the result afterward”
At Bredefleur, they only want to grow the most beautiful, the best, and the most exclusive lilies. And according to them, that starts with having passion in the profession. And you’ll notice that right away when you step into their company. Passion has flowed through the veins of the Evers family for generations. This family business goes way back, but with the next generation at the helm, they are more than ready for the future. We spoke with Thomas Evers, one of the three brothers who drive the organization. He came into contact with LetsGrow.com through a course on Plant Empowerment. Today, the use of data is woven into the operations and strategy of this lily farm.
To measure is to know
The guys at Bredefleur don’t shy away from innovation. For example, solar panels provide 100% of the power for their machines and cooling, they use fully automated bunching machines for their lilies, and they use data to improve various facets within the organization. “If we believe in something, we go for it. That’s just in our DNA” says Thomas Evers.
Thomas is clear when it comes to using data. At Bredefleur to measure means to know. The company likes to respond to innovations, but only if they can be measured with data. A principle that we at LetsGrow.com can only applaud. Because the fact is, by turning data into valuable information, you can optimize the cultivation process. Regardless of the crop. In this case, high-quality lilies.
After following a course of Next Generation Growing (also known as Plant Empowerment), Bredefleur became acquainted with LetsGrow.com. “During the course, we were given the opportunity to take a look at two companies that were implementing Plant Empowerment. After this three-year course, we also wanted to get started with LetsGrow.com” says Thomas Evers. “Eventually we started measuring the first greenhouse section. We started by measuring the temperature under and above the screens. Then we started measuring the RH (Relative Humidity) outside and calculating the PAR (percentage of growth light entering the greenhouse). Because you work with your own data, you quickly catch up and create insight into your way of growing. Ultimately, we now perform these measures in eight departments at our location in Luttelgeest, The Netherlands”.
On the way to accurate predictions
Ultimately, their request went beyond just measuring climate conditions. The harvest of the lilies was also something they wanted more insight into. This question stemmed from the short cycle that lilies have. After planting a bulb, it takes an average of eight to ten weeks until the plant is ready to be harvested. “Once a week we plant new bulbs and on the other days, we cut the lilies. Each week we wanted to monitor how many plants we have and when we can start harvesting” said Thomas. “Monitoring these forecasts and comparing them to periods in our past gives us a picture of what to expect for the coming period. Ultimately, you can communicate that to your sales. That is, of course, very valuable for us,” adds Evers.
Winny van Heijningen, Sales Manager, explains how LetsGrow.com helps Bredefleur with this: “By analyzing and visualizing their crop data and matching this with the climate data, we can eventually make yield predictions. If it then turns out that the prognosis for a particular week is not being met, we can respond by, for example, adjusting the RTR (Ratio Temperature Radiation), which indicates the relationship between radiation and temperature. The ultimate goal is to create a crop that is in balance because this ensures optimal production and quality and ultimately increases the resilience of the plant”.
Overview of work process
In addition to the measures being done in the climate departments in the greenhouse, visualizing data also extends to the labor process at Bredefleur. Every day, numbers regarding the harvesting process are presented to the staff. Thomas explains how this works: “We calculate the number of plants harvested per person, per hour. If you visualize the data for the week, an upward trend is not immediately noticeable. But by looking at the data over a longer period, we could see that there were big steps forward. This naturally created enthusiasm among us and our staff. In the future, we also want to do more with our climate data so that we can show an upward trend everywhere. Working together with parties as LetsGrow.com moves us forward as a company, but also the horticultural sector in general.”
A clear mission and vision for Bredefleur. Continue to improve and innovate, so that the company can grow at full speed and is ready for the next generation. LetsGrow.com is happy to contribute to this. Because alone you can go fast, but together you can go further.
Levi Evers, Thomas Evers, and Peter Evers of Bredefleur.