Robotics AI Innovator

The road to data-driven horticulture

Author: Hoogendoorn
Friday, 20 May 2022

The world is changing more and more towards data-driven (digital) horticulture. The lack of cultivation knowledge, climate change, an ever-growing world population, and an existing food crisis, are just a few reasons as to why there is a pressing need for autonomous software.

In recent years, as a reaction to these urgent matters, an “Integrated Data Driven Growing” strategy (DDG strategy) has been on the rise. The DDG strategy is a roadmap to autonomous climate and irrigation control and is based on the basic principles of Plant Empowerment.

The use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) combined with plant physiology is also of great importance for the grower, because a proper working AI system has many benefits for growers worldwide. Growers achieve higher yields, enabling them to be more profitable as sustainable.

That is also one of the reasons why the Plant Empowerment principles have been integrated into the IIVO process computer of Hoogendoorn. Hoogendoorn offers sustainable and user-friendly process automation solutions for all types of growers. The goals are to create an optimal growth for their crop, minimal use of natural resources, and a manner to grow towards a more sustainable horticulture.

An example of a company that is already working according to a Data Driven Growing strategy (and that has been a Hoogendoorn customer for many years now), is Great Northern. The company has a 70 acre greenhouse operation in Kingsville, Canada and is known for its tomatoes; growing more than 10 varieties.

After doing an extensive data analysis, the conclusion was that by implementing Data Driven Growing and the principles of Plant Empowerment, the company could realize 5% more yield per m2. This meant an important increase in the Return of Investment (ROI) for the organization, so the decision was quickly made. In practice, next to the increase in production, they also see better quality fruits and an improvement on shelf life. Great Northern is that convinced, that they decided to train all employees according to the principles of Plant Empowerment and to further implement Data Driven Growing in their business.

Next to their star product, the company had a desire to diversify their portfolio, where they made a commitment to convert 26 acres over to strawberries, adding another specialty to their growing portfolio. The company plans to accomplish a complete strawberry production by March 2023.

“We have had this ambition already for several years to diversify our crop portfolio. And we expect a complete, seamless transition from a tomato climate into a strawberry climate. Again, with the same platform and with the same Plant Empowerment principles’’, says Guido van het Hof, President and General Manager of Great Northern.

For more information on Great Northern and their Data Driven Strategy greenhouse operation, please visit: Great Northern - Conversion from tomatoes to strawberries with IIVO — IIVO (

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