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At GreenTech Amsterdam Arie van der Giessen, Vice President and Regional Facility Manager  from Village Farms, Texas, USA, talked about his experiences with Autonomous Growing. He tells Blue Radix’ Crop Controller helps them improve their crop strategy, giving their growers peace of mind while realizing the right growing conditions in the greenhouse.

Arie: “Growing is 24/7, it is very time consuming and takes so much time from everyone. Especially in our greenhouse in Texas where the climate is so harsh, it’s not easy to maintain, the Summers are hot, the Winters are cold. If our growers are going home, they want to be at home and relax instead of checking the climate computer, I’ve done it my whole life. Especially with your smartphone, you keep looking at it. Growing with Crop Controller is way more relaxed.”

The forecast gives peace of mind
Other benefits he talks about: “I think you can train a grower quicker and better, than it would take normally without AI. Before, it took a lot time to train a grower to work with the climate computer and change the ventilation and other settings for example. They now already see ahead what’s going to happen, for example the forecast of the ventilation and the heating settings. You can see in the graph what is going to happen. This gives the grower peace of mind, because normally when the weather changes, you must change the climate computer but now the Blue Radix system does it by itself. You just follow the Crop Controller lines and directly feel good about it. I can see what’s happening and I like what I see, because it’s realizing the right conditions for the plant.”

AI makes a growers’ life easier
“In greenhouse one we grow a little different than in greenhouse 2, we can grow with different strategies,” says Arie. And I can set the targets you want the system to control. Some growers might think they lose control because of the use of AI but that’s not true…  AI is your friend. It helps you with the strategy, it helps you with controlling the conditions, it makes life so much easier and  helps us to get better operational results as well”.

Concluding Arie tells the 2 main reasons why he started with autonomous growing by Crop Controller. “It’s hard to find skilled growers these days, Crop Controller solves this and growers can also manage way more hectares.”