Winners of the coveted GreenTech Innovation awards were announced last month in Amsterdam, NL.
Of the 50 entries, the judging panel narrowed it down to 18 entries before one winner was chosen from each category.
Mobile innovation in IPM
Koppert Biological Systems topped the Innovation category with their product Natutec Scout, a mobile application that lets growers check on their greenhouse pest and disease management in real-time, allowing them to respond more quickly to potential problems. Judges commented on its global applicability, simplicity and low cost with high impact.
‘It’s a real breakthrough for both growers and our own consultants because it provides a digital platform for the registration and analysis of not only pests and diseases, but also the biological control and chemical agents present in the greenhouse,’ says Tom Vroegop, Natutec’s product manager, in a company press release. “The smartest thing about the app is the image recognition that has been built into the app enabling you to collect data on location without having to physically count the pests or make notes behind a computer screen or laptop in your office.”
According to the company, the app’s image recognition tool uses photographs taken of Horiver sticky traps to identify and count the insects in the crop. The IPM data is then stored in a central database and offers growers and consultants the ability to analyze the situation in more detail. The monitoring function of the app generates timely warnings for growers and consultants, who receive regular updates about situations where pests may have reached harmful levels. The dashboard linked to the app can also generate reports.
Sustainability rises to the top
Ridder Group won in the Sustainability category with their product Ridder NoNa+. Described as the industry’s first cost-efficient sodium-removal solution, judges commented on the product’s high efficiency and affordable price tag.
The combination of selective membrane and electrodialysis treatment is said to minimize the loss of expensive fertilizers and remove sodium from drain water without adding other minerals. This is “in line with the sustainable water transition in the Netherlands and the rest of the world,” judges said.
“We are very proud that we have won the Greentech Innovation Award in the Sustainability category with the Ridder NoNa+. It is an important acknowledgement by the horticultural sector – they recognize Ridder as a company that brings meaningful and sustainable innovations to the market,” says Ridder CEO Klaas van de Poppe in a release.
From concept to innovation
Grodan, part of Rockwool Group, took home the main prize in the Concept category with their product e-Gro.
Designed as an open platform, the product allows growers to collect and combine relevant data from the greenhouse, giving them a comprehensive picture of the rootzone, the crop, climate conditions, irrigation and harvest results. It also provides intelligent, data-driven recommendations to help growers optimize their production.
“We are extremely proud that after a successful launch earlier this year e-Gro was nominated for the Concept Award,” says Hub Janssen, managing director of Grodan. “Winning the award is a recognition from the market that e-Gro is a true innovation that we developed together with our customers.”
The judges noted its ability to integrate a large amount of data through a user-friendly interface, saying it was “an important step towards autonomous growing” and an “excellent combination of artificial intelligence and green roots.”
Greentech grows overseas
With a total of 12,489 professionals from 114 countries present at GreenTech this year, show organizers say they experienced a 20 per cent growth in attendance.
While the majority of visitors were from the United States, Germany, China, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, organizers are looking to address the exponential rise in attendees from Canada and Mexico by launching GreenTech Americas in 2020, running from March 24 to 26 in Querétaro, Mexico.
“We believe that with GreenTech Amsterdam as a global platform we should reach out to the emerging markets in the world. We need a regional platform in the western part of the world to meet the regional needs of the growers. By organizing GreenTech Americas we are able to address the specific needs of the growers and suppliers from this emerging region, looking at the specific climates, the producers and consumer needs, [for example],” says Mariska Dreschler, director of horticulture at GreenTech.
The next edition of GreenTech Amsterdam will take place from June 8 to 10, 2020 at RAI Amsterdam.
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