Horticulture

Defining the best irrigation needs for optimum flower quality

Sensoterra partner Geert Steenhuis, a horticultural advisor at GMN, uses Sensoterra sensors to provide the best service to flower bulb growers across the Netherlands. Since 2017 GMN has offered Sensoterra sensors to support their service portfolio in crop development.


"With Sensoterra, farmers can see their soil's irrigation needs."
Geert Steenhuis, GMN

The Sensoterra sensors are a wireless IoT-based and remote system that provides growers with 24/7 insight into the soil moisture condition of their crops. With the use of Long Range Low Power (LoRa) radio communication, the probes can be placed anywhere within range of a LoRa gateway. In the Netherlands, KPN, the market leader in Dutch telecommunication, provides LoRa coverage across the country, allowing Sensoterra sensors to be placed anywhere within coverage.

"The magic happens when the farmers see the readings in the app, go out to their fields and see the real need for irrigation. The sensors are helping them turn a gut feeling into a data-driven decision to irrigate”

 As an agronomist, Steenhuis' objective is to deliver high-quality bulbs, while at the same time increasing yield - and with a portfolio of over 50 growers, he can't be in all the fields at once. The Sensoterra solution helps him and his growers remotely monitor crop health - saving time, and helping identify high priority fields.  

  • Bulb growers in the Netherlands typically use rolling-sprinkler or a haspel for irrigation
  • The 2018 summer was the warmest in the Netherlands in over 300 years
  • Locations serviced: 7
  • Number of probes: 55

As a standard, tulip farmers will normally irrigate once a week, with many farmers presuming this would be sufficient during the 2018 summer drought. "The farmers using Sensoterra sensors realized that they needed to irrigate more frequently, every 3-4 days, in order to maintain crop quality during the drought." One farmer bought an additional haspel, costing on average 4,000 - 10,000 EUR, to keep up with the irrigation demands, saving his crop. 

In the near future, GMN intends to further enrich their crop knowledge and service expertise with the Sensoterra solution, focusing on data and system integration with the API. 

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    With 24/7 soil moisture data, growers can make smart irrigation decisions, knowing exactly when to irrigate, and when to stop. 

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