Owner François van Helvoort and manager Patrick van Gestel cultivate 34 hectares on which they grow lettuce (6 different varieties), leek, pointed cabbage and celeriac. François and Patrick follow the political developments in The Hague when it comes to the adjustments that are wanted for the agricultural sector. Among other things, they see the reduction in the number of permitted agents and fertilisation measures as a major challenge for vegetable cultivation in the Netherlands.

Klep-Agro provides Van Helvoort with weekly growing advice for their various crops. “Johan Bogers of Klep introduced us to the products of SmartFarm”, says François. “We believe it is important to be up-to-date with the latest developments and to use products and knowledge which can help us in our daily work. The FieldMate is a real support for us when it comes to carrying out spraying activities’. Patrick adds: “We use the Spray Planner a lot throughout the season. Especially during long periods of leaf wetness where it is very difficult to plan a spraying moment. It is better to spray at a time that gives you the highest possible yield, than to just ‘follow your feeling’ and find out later that you did it all for nothing.”

In addition to the Spray Planner, the FieldMate is also used to monitor the temperature on the various fields. We see large differences in the temperature in and above the crop, which is very useful information for us, for instance to suppress insects. During the winter, the FieldMate is also used on an almost daily basis to carry out applications and to evaluate root activity on the basis of soil temperature.

François and Patrick expect that systems like the FieldMate will become increasingly important in vegetable cultivation. They are optimistic about the future at SmartFarm with the developments that are coming up. 

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