Co-writers: Mr. Peter Klapwijk, Green Architect and Connector with a vast growing history and Marit Nieboer – Klapwijk – Business coach, discovers and supports you and your companies talents and abilities.


How to Control Your Crops Year Round

Running a modern greenhouse operation means working together with your plants and mother nature. If you take good care of your plants by feeding them in time, watering them enough and regularly performing the necessary procedures, the growth of your crop will be a steady and predictable process.

Here are some modern greenhouse tips worth considering to help you control your crops.

control your crop

Growing Skills in Greenhouse Technology

The work of a grower gets both complicated and fascinating by the whims of nature and the impact of weather conditions within greenhouses.

Previously, an unforeseen peak in harvest and crop growth within our small-scaled family business could have been solved by a few extra hours of work, if necessary, with the help of  family members and acquaintances.

In a modern and extensive, 2022, greenhouse operation, different measures and actions are required when peaks or drops in harvest and crop growth occur. Especially while trying to grow your business, it is crucial to maintain full control over every operational process.

Naturally, the weather and growth rates are difficult factors to predict around the world. However, growing and the development of horticultural crops is in fact a pretty straight forward process.

Using a Controllable and Logical Process

We have trained ourselves to focus on the more pressing matters within the cultivational process that we can detect, register and analyze. This way, cultivation and operational management become more comprehensible and controllable for us throughout the entire process.

1. Measurement is key

Register your key success factors in an organized format.

Some examples:

  • Crop growth
  • Fruiting, or, Harvest
  • Temperature
  • Water usage
  • Necessary labor
  • Daily production

2. Analysis

Plot data against each other and in line.

  • Find the relation between:
    • Temperature and growing speed
    • Fruiting and harvest quantities
    • Speed of growth and labor requirements
  • Try to transform the data to knowledge, usable formulas and key figures, to calculate matters like the expectation for harvesting, crop growth and labor requirements based on weather predictions.

3. Strategy and operational management

Based on the insights and analyses you’ve developed, you will create an overview of your critical determinants.

  • You discover weaknesses and loopholes in your productional processes.
  • You consider improvements in the business and cultivation plan, such as:
    • Spreading your crops
    • Choosing crops that decrease the labor intensiveness
    • Choosing crops with a slower ripening
    • Investing in technical supplies
    • Changing labor and organizational processes

4. Build your own cockpit

Create a platform with the current, most relevant information for your operational processes and make sure it is displayed in a simple and reliable manner.

  • Display the main issues like:
    • Weather predictions
    • Expected growth and crop labor
    • Expected harvest
    • Available labor
    • Market demands
  • Actively use the information you possess so you can easily change your processes when the temperature rises and your expected harvest increases. Make sure you have enough time to increase the capacity of the available labor and start looking for possibilities to distribute your extra production in time.
  • Facing a dip in growth often means that there is less product available within 6 to 8 weeks. Your cockpit will help you react quickly to these changes.
  • If you monitor and analyze the different factors in your cultivation process accurately, you will find those matters to be far more predictable than you would have thought before. Surprises usually occur when the details are

Measuring Means Knowing What You Did

I have always worked with the philosophy “measurement is key” and it has brought me a lot. I now have two examples that come to mind, aside from insights and fun because I began to understand how matters were related.

Personal experiences from the past

1. Increasing efficiency:

When I organized a simple labor registration with the means I had in the eighties, our labor efficiency rose 20% due to the fact that we knew exactly how every employee performed. I didn’t have to talk to anyone, the performance became visible for both employees and the group, which inspired them to correct themselves.

2. Increasing production:

In 2007, we achieved a year’s production of 100 kilos of vine tomatoes per square meter within the Green Q Improvement Centre. It was a dream come true. The foundation for performing at that scale was no super greenhouse or super crop, it was a decent cultivation plan based on many years of growth registration. Centralized within this cultivation plan was how we could slow down over time by removing a bunch of tomatoes when the plant became heavily burdened. By intervening, the plant could continue to grow at its natural pace and we could produce 100 kilos per square meter by the end of the year. Everything was based on planning and calculations. Without a long-term plan, we would not have realized that controlling the load and proper growth of a plant would be the key to these results.

Develop Your Grower’s Talent and Skills

A good blog is never very lengthy. Therefore, the examples have been limited to cultivational growth, labor and harvest. Nonetheless, all processes in and around the greenhouses can be visualized, analyzed and made comprehensible. By doing so, you will start to take a closer look, pay more attention and increase your awareness of what it is you do. You will start to take the time to think ahead more often and undertake smart steps to improve the level of crop control. Talent doesn’t naturally come to you; you must develop it.

An advancement from our side in a couple of matters that can help you profit with a little more professional attention:

  • Scouting the burden of diseases
  • Organizing cultivational shifting
  • Optimizing the fertilization during cultivation

Practically every field and process in your company is measurable. This helps you to predict, control and scale.

Success usually isn’t a coincidence, and paying attention to the good things really pays off.