The corona era has caused many processes in business have been given a digital alternative. This is no different for the tomato growers of Growers United. Digital Crop Management with LetsGrow.com in particular has taken off at this grower cooperative. This is partly due to corona, but also to the fact that tomato growers have to comply with strict hygiene rules to prevent possible contamination with ToBRFV.
Learning from each other's data
Growers have been meeting in greenhouses for a long time to learn from each other and to strive for an ever-improving crop in terms of quality. At the beginning of 2020, LetsGrow.com launched Digital Crop Management. With high-quality video recordings from the greenhouse, one can take a look into someone else’s greenhouse via MyLetsGrow, share data and provide it with relevant context.
With the help of LetsGrow.com, approximately fifty cultivation specialists from the members of Growers United tomato meet digitally on a weekly or biweekly basis. And this is working out better than expected. Tom Prins, Innovation Manager Tomato at Growers United says: “Digital Crop Management saves time and provides a large amount of valuable information. It’s good for new and in-depth insights into your cultivation strategy. It also fits in well with the strict hygiene rules we apply to prevent ToBRFV contamination.”
Thanks to Digital Crop Management, crop specialists can take a look at each other’s crops using videos and plant measurements. This way the growers can learn from each other in terms of yields and cultivation conditions. In addition, it is the ideal way to make issues from the various locations transparent and discuss them. Every crop has its challenges in the greenhouse and this way, growers can learn from other growers who produce for Growers United.
This adds up to the fact that Digital Crop Management is not a temporary solution. The benefits are many, but of course, the participants in the groups still miss meeting at the greenhouse from time to time.
LetsGrow.com as a strategic data partner
All data that results from Digital Crop Management is conveniently displayed in the LetsGrow.com platform (MyLetsGrow). LetsGrow.com also guides the growers through the process and helps the participants gain insight into the data they have collected such as videos, photos, and crop registrations. With this data, comparisons and analyses can be made, giving a better picture of how the varieties are growing and where optimization is possible.
Martin van Tol, Sales Manager of LetsGrow.com, talks about this unique collaboration: “The tomato growers of Growers United are the only group that practices Digital Crop Management on such a large scale. With approximately 50 cultivation locations, they are truly unique in this. LetsGrow.com is their strategic partner in the field of data and crop optimization. Together we look at the steps that can be taken to achieve the highest possible quality of the crop at the lowest possible cost for the grower. We get the discussion going so that together we can take the group to an even higher level by continuing to innovate.
Jacco Besuijen, Product Group Manager Tomato of Growers United explains; “The past year we have given Digital Crop Management a more solid place within the organization. Since Tom Prins started as Innovation Manager for tomato, LetsGrow.com and Growers United are evaluating the situation more frequently than before and there is one point of contact for the members. In this way, there is a continuous review of where improvements can be made and we can respond to this.”
It is expected that in the future, most Growers United Tomato growers will opt for a hybrid form: Digital Crop Management using LetsGrow.com will continue, but it is expected that the results will also be reviewed face-to-face sometimes. A healthy combination of optimizing processes through digitalization, but with a personal touch.
Tom Prins, Innovation Manager for tomato at Growers United and Martin van Tol, Sales Manager at LetsGrow.com