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BASF Vegetable Seeds invests in autonomous growing

Data-driven, connected and sustainable vegetable production is the future
Together with corporate and academic partners, BASF Vegetable Seeds is making progress in the application of autonomous growing concepts. The company has already applied the concept to seed production, cultivation of a tomato variety and the screening of hydroponic lettuce varieties. A new project for cucumber is underway.

“At BASF Vegetable Seeds we want to make healthy eating enjoyable and sustainable. Therefore, we strongly believe in the development of a connected, data-driven, automated and sustainable production system with consumers’ needs in mind,” says Anne Jancic, Marketing & Business Development High Tech at BASF Vegetable Seeds.

In autonomous growing, sensors, cameras, data collection and analysis are used to predefine growing settings with the help of algorithms and artificial intelligence (AI). These integrated technologies can optimize inputs such as energy, water and the balance of nutritional elements to create the most optimal conditions for growth. They can recognize environmental conditions which will impact yield, the predictability of yield, better handling of crop diseases as well as future fruit quality, flavor or nutritional content of vegetables and take actions in real time. “Computers can make complex decisions much faster and learn based on outcomes much faster than we can,” adds Anne Jancic. “That does not mean that specialized growers are not needed anymore. It simply means that they will be able to do a better job using the opportunities offered by this technology.”

The goal is to provide a growing recipe for each variety BASF commercializes, Anne explains. “The grower can visualize the performance of the variety during growth from a simple dashboard and get real time digital feedback, enhancing the performance of our genetics and thus the profit of our customers.”

The benefits are manifold: Not only is the system highly reliable due to less human intervention, it also reduced the need to gain experience over several growing cycles or hiring specialists when growers start with a new crop. Less resources such as water and energy and a higher and more reliable production come with significant sustainability effects.

Progress in partnerships
As integrated concepts like these require an integrated approach, BASF is working together with industry suppliers, research institutes, growers and consultants.

Last year, BASF partnered with Hoogendoorn Growth Management to gain experiences with various autonomous growing software and hardware for hydroponic lettuce and tomato. The modular software ensures that the available resources such as natural gas, fertilizers and water are used as efficiently as possible, helping to minimize costs and CO² emissions and to maximize crop profitability.

“Next to the extremely huge learnings we made in modern climate management we’ve seen massive opportunities to improve our own processes and to add value to our genetics. Using the principles of Growing by Plant Empowerment (GPE) to control the plant balances and optimize photosynthetic activity, we were able to significantly increase the growth speed of hydroponic lettuce while improving crop quality at the same time,” explains Martin Voorberg, R&D Capital Investment Venture Manager at BASF Vegetable Seeds “We had the same experience with high-tech tomatoes when production was higher during the winter months compared to references from professional growers. As a consequence, we will increase our investments in the facilities at ‘s-Gravenzande to make all greenhouse compartments ready for autonomous growing.”

What is Plant Empowerment (PE)?
“Plant Empowerment is a step towards a sustainable and profitable cultivation, empowering the plants to produce their fruits in an efficient and sustainable way, balancing input and output – that’s what we also believe in for the future cultivation of vegetables,” explains Anne Jancic, Marketing & Business Development High Tech at BASF Vegetable Seeds. “We are developing powerful genetics for the professional horticulturalist and vegetable value chain. But getting the best out of those genetics and offering vegetables people love, is always a joint effort with the growers, greenhouse suppliers, universities and the whole industry. We believe that collaboration and synergies are key and contribute to developing even smarter innovations – autonomous growing and the movement towards a real smart greenhouse is one of the best examples for this.”

More information: www.nunhems.com

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Israel announces creation of global seed company

Two Israeli seed producers, Nirit Seeds and TomaTech, have joined forces to create Israel’s largest vegetable seed company. This synergy will enable unique seed breeding research and development that will accelerate the company’s growth in the international seed markets.

Upon completion of the merger, the company will have more than 80 employees worldwide, including molecular biologists, breeders, agronomists, and others.
The company will improve its breeding activities in Israel, Spain, Mexico and Italy, as well as significantly expand its representation in the Netherlands and North America, with a particular focus on growing vegetables in high-tech greenhouses.

Nirit Seeds is one of the most successful internationally traded tomato and pepper seed producers, investing in the development of revolutionary genetic technologies. TomaTech is one of the leading tomato seed companies in Israel, developing premium varieties, including those resistant to the dangerous Tomato Brown Ruffle Virus (ToBRFV).

The production of crop seeds is one of the most advanced and high-tech sectors in Israel. According to the Seed Department of the Federation of Israel Chambers of Commerce, seed exports currently generate $200 million in annual revenue. There are about 25 large and medium-sized companies in the local industry.

For reference. According to market research, the global vegetable seed industry is valued at $8 billion a year and is growing at a CAGR of 8%.

Prepared according to https://www.freshplaza.com

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Karachay-Cherkessia became one of the leaders in the production of greenhouse vegetables at the end of 2021

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Greenhouse vegetable production in 2021 reached a record 1.4 million tonnes. According to the Ministry of Agriculture of the Russian Federation, the leaders among the regions in this segment are the Karachay-Cherkess Republic, Lipetsk, Moscow, Kaluga, Volgograd, Novosibirsk, Saratov, Chelyabinsk regions, Krasnodar and Stavropol Territories, the Republics of Bashkortostan and Tatarstan. These regions account for more than 60% of the total production in the country. The intensive development of greenhouse projects in our country helps to provide Russians with fresh vegetables all year round. Last year, the harvest in winter greenhouses updated the 2020 record – more than 1.4 million tons of products were received. Including the production of cucumbers amounted to at least 830 thousand tons, and tomatoes – 590 thousand tons. It is expected that by 2025 the volume of vegetable production in year-round greenhouses will be at least 1.6 million tons of vegetables.

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December: Special Year Overview

In 2022, it will be 22 year since the new millennium started. Can’t believe it? Neither can we, but it is true. Before we go there, it is time to reflect on what has happened this year. Over the next couple of weeks, we will look back at 2021 and we will highlight the most important events that impacted the industry.

New greenhouses, events, even a few shows, technical novelties, and all other relevant news will pass by, offering you something other than Covid to talk about during Christmas and New Years’.

yearoverview

Wish your customers Happy Holidays
This special also offers an opportunity to put your company in the spotlight with a banner in this special box. This banner can be booked until December 24 on our newsletters. For more information, feel free to send an email to: info@hortidaily.com 

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