Great Lake Greenhouses achieves 19.6% yield increase on cucumber with KoPilot Grow

December 9, 2023
Autonomous Growing

Koidra joined hands with Great Lakes Greenhouse Inc. (GLG), a leading year-round cucumber producer in Canada,…

Great Lake Greenhouses Inc (GLG), the leading year-round cucumber producer in Canada, is currently reaping the benefits of implementing Koidra’s KoPilot for their autonomous greenhouse management. Mark Reimer, Business and R&D Manager at Great Lakes Greenhouses, highlights the benefits of using Koidra’s autonomous grower strategy powered by KoPilot subscription. Mark notes that KoPilot boosted crop yields, provided a deeper understanding of crop conditions, and offered valuable insights into their greenhouse operation

Executive Summary

Koidra joined hands with Great Lakes Greenhouse Inc. (GLG), a leading year-round cucumber producer in Canada, to accelerate the yield of hydroponic cucumber by 19.6% in 2022. Utilizing Koidra’s KoPilot, GLG not only increased their yield significantly but also optimized energy efficiency by 17%.

Great Lake Greenhouses

Great Lake Greenhouse Inc 

  • Location – Leamington, Ontario
  • Duration: 2 year long usage
  • Island Mode Plant Operation
  • Greenhouse climate tracking
  • Autonomous grower strategy
  • Energy usage optimization
  • Heating and vent control
  • 24 / 7 Plant Operations

The Challenge

GLG’s greenhouse operations aim to increase their production by 50% in the next five years. 180% more electricity is required due to the use of supplemental lighting, especially during the winter. Lighting eats up a huge chunk of the electricity used in greenhouses, sometimes over 90%. Fortunately, more than 10% of electricity can be saved if a system is well-designed for adjusting the lights based on outside conditions.

On the other hand, growers have another struggle in making different technologies work together. Various sensors are installed to gather a huge amount of data about crops and the greenhouse environment, including temperature and humidity. But obtaining the data isn’t enough, it needs to be analyzed to indicate patterns to help the growers make decisions, like when to adjust humidity or CO2 levels. It’s difficult to get analytical insights if data from different sensors are not unified.

The Results

In this collaborative project, we developed and implemented an autonomous growing system, applying the latest innovations in AI, that was capable of controlling the greenhouse autonomously and efficiently.

The goal of Koidra’s solutions was to improve both the yield and energy usage efficiency of a greenhouse. The technology essentially would allow for remote oversight of more than one operation by a single experienced grower or assists growers with limited experience. Combined with efficient climate control systems, this would allow GLG’s food production to be more decentralized and operate with high resource use efficiencies.

Koidra’s Solutions for GLG’s Autonomous Greenhouse

Koidra’s solutions combine DataPilot and KoPilot Grow:

  • DataPilot provides a centralized platform to integrate on-site systems and manage operational data on the cloud. This data was used to generate insightful dashboards for the growers. Then, the growers and greenhouse managers can make informed and better decisions for the crop by combining the data-driven approach with their accumulated knowledge which leads to greater yield and resource efficiency.
  • KoPilot Grow takes greenhouse automation to the next level. Our AI expert system precisely mimicked an expert grower’s actions to automate the climate control system within the greenhouse. The system was rigorously tested and refined over a period of 4-month trial on cucumbers, ensuring it functioned consistently and efficiently even under extreme conditions.

Key Results

We conducted a trial with cucumbers from July to October 2022. Yield was compared between the area controlled by Koidra’s technology (KoPilot zone) versus the area controlled by the growers (the controlled zone).

In the KoPilot zone, our AI system controlled specific environmental variables including heating, CO2 level, and venting. As both compartments used the same lighting strategy, our system demonstrated electricity usage efficiency as we achieved an outstanding yield increase by 19.6%.

ZoneKoPilot zone (kg/m2)Controlled zone (kg/m2)Yield difference
Yield29.7424.8719.6%

The vital role of AI technology in sustainable food production

The successful cucumber trial at GLG’s facility brings forth several significant implications for the field of agriculture and greenhouse management. First and foremost, our project indicates the potential and feasibility in applying the latest AI technologies to optimize and automate the growing strategies in commercial greenhouses.  

The consistent and smooth operation of our KoPilot underscores its readiness for real-world applications, promising increased yield and energy efficiency. The substantial yield increase of 19.6% for cucumbers, achieved with the improved energy efficiency, is a testament to the potential benefits of this technology.

In the broader context, these achievements hold promise for a more sustainable and efficient future in agriculture. The ability to optimize crop yields while minimizing energy consumption aligns with the global need for resource-efficient food production. The successful implementation of AI-driven solutions in greenhouse management sets a precedent for the adoption of cutting-edge technologies in agriculture, ultimately contributing to increased food security and environmental sustainability.

Testimonials

“We can see different metrics that Koidra has put together and we can evaluate those and learn from that. With optimization we’re always a yield-first focus, but when we can add a percentage of yield increase, while not increasing our greenhouse footprint, that’s where we really benefit from this technology.”

Mark Reimer, Research and Business Development Manager, Great Lakes Greenhouse Inc.

About Great Lakes Greenhouse Inc.

Great Lakes Greenhouse Inc. (GLG) is a leading commercial greenhouse based in Leamington (Ontario, Canada) which has built its reputation on high-quality crop production. Today, it is one of the largest greenhouse operators in North America, especially in the growing of cucumbers and eggplants.

GLG owns the full circle of production from growing to packing and marketing its produce. It is committed to improving the greenhouse economy at scale, promoting sustainability, and actively seeking out relevant technological advancement.


About Koidra Inc.

Koidra Inc. is an autonomous control company whose software aids growers in boosting yields, reducing resources, and promoting sustainable agriculture. The software works with all existing climate computers.

Koidra achieved consecutive wins in the prestigious Autonomous Greenhouse Challenges (AGC) by Wageningen University and Research in the Netherlands. Outperforming experienced cultivators, the company achieved unparalleled yields through its AI solutions.

Koidra has secured grants from esteemed bodies, including the USDA, for its innovative work. By integrating artificial intelligence, machine learning, IoT, and expert insight, the company has developed advanced and robust tools. These tools empower growers and manufacturers to realize production and sustainability goals while minimizing costs.

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