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Data-driven growing: “But that’s what I’ve been doing, right?”

In recent years, there has been an increase in written articles about data-driven growing. Ton van Dijk with LetsGrow talks about this a lot with growers from all over the world. A common comment he gets is: “But that’s what I’ve been doing, right? How is data-driven growing going to help me?” And of course, they have a point. Plenty decisions are already being made based on data. Yet, there are also ample opportunities for improvement at many companies. In this blog, Ton van Dijk writes about the opportunities and challenges of data-driven growing.

Data-driven growing (DDG) came into existence with the advent of climate computers in the 1970s, namely by basing decisions on quality information and measurements. That’s still the case today. Throughout the years very nice systems have been made that enable you as a grower, together with the crop consultant, to set exactly what you want to achieve based on measurements related to temperature, RH, CO2, measuring boxes at multiple heights, plant temperature, PAR, etc. You’ll lose track if you’re not careful!

We regularly receive many questions about this. If you take a lot of measurements, are you growing in a data-driven way, and do you actually make the best decisions? Are you making those decisions based on facts or feelings? And should you analyze your data once a year, or would it be optimal to analyze it every month, every week, or even in real-time? Are you, a human, still needed in the greenhouse or do you simply view the data from your computer screen? And if something goes wrong in the greenhouse, do you adjust your settings, or is it also possible to anticipate what will happen so you may prevent it? The answer to many of these questions is still that it simply involves your common sense and feelings.

Growing based on data
Herein lies the big difference between data driven growing and growing based on data. These are two separate standpoints.

I regularly speak to business owners who claim that good growers walk in the greenhouse and don’t sit behind a computer screen. It is true that it is not desirable for growers to be constantly behind the computer changing settings. That would mean that you would be working reactively and you would actually fall behind. Your cultivation is then based on data. However, if you visualize, analyze and use all available data in a good way, a grower behind the computer screen can draw sharper conclusions. Then you can truly be data driven. It is important, however, that the physiological and physical knowledge is up to standard so that data can be interpreted correctly. This is not only important for the grower himself, but also for the crop consultant and other colleagues.

Plant empowerment
A good tool for this knowledge is the physiology of Plant Empowerment. A book has been written about this, namely: ‘Plant Empowerment, the basic principles’ which is published by The book very clearly describes the plant physiological and physical processes in the greenhouse and creates a common way of communication. An example of this is the discussion about generative or vegetative control of the crop. At Plant Empowerment we talk about the Ratio Temperature Radiation (RTR). When you have good control of the RTR, there is an optimal plant balance. A discussion about generative or vegetative control of the crop is then superfluous. The RTR is a calculable number that you can use to work out an optimal cultivation strategy. The use of a principle from this physiology ensures that one can deal proactively with data. More of these examples are described in our white papers. (

The book Plant Empowerment has also become standard reading material for horticulture-related schools and universities in the Netherlands and abroad. We are of course very proud of this!

Data-driven growing
In data-driven growing the grower becomes increasingly skilled in the strategic use of already available data. Within we always use the Gartner chart for this.

If you collect, store, visualize, and analyses data in a good and unambiguous way, this can lead to interesting insights. Our advice is always to start with the proper registration of your data. Are you not yet using crop settings or taking structural photos with cameras hanging throughout the greenhouse? Then start doing so. Combining photos with data is a golden combination for analysis. In addition, it is also important that you, as a grower, delve into the explanatory and predictive models that are available. By knowing what is going to happen, steering is still possible before it happens. You can make big steps towards an optimal situation in the greenhouse with small interventions, often without extra investment. That is what I call the power of data! Growers who go for it will be the winners in the future. And if you need help with this, just give me a call.

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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

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


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’.


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: 

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