Great Lake Greenhouses Inc (GLG), the leading year-round cucumber producer in Canada, is currently reaping the benefits of implementing Koidra AutoPilot 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 AutoPilot suit subscription. Mark notes that AutoPilot boosted crop yields, provided a deeper understanding of crop conditions, and offered valuable insights into their greenhouse operations.
- 30% Higher crop yield.
- 19.6% Boost in Profitability
- Energy efficiency improved by 13.8%
- A granular control logic and for that setpoints are changed every 5 mins.
Leamington Facility, 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
Automatic Greenhouse to Autonomous Greenhouse
The modern cucumber producer has been using a Koidra HoogenDoorn for Climate Control in the greenhouse since early 2000. Mark Reimer and his team sensed that there was a potential to boost their produce yield with a more optimal grower strategy but that potentially required a more granular control of the Climate Control and experimentation with the grower strategy. That is when Mark decided to start using Koidra Autopilot in early 2021.
The main reason behind this decision was the fact that growers were seeking a better control on climate and processes in the greenhouse. The growers realized that climate computers were limited in capability allowing time period based greenhouse control, for example opening and closing the shade at a certain time and to achieve it grower’s strategy involves changing setpoints once a day or few times a week. But growers realize that the best results are achieved if one is able to control the greenhouse using environmental factors based control logics. Koidra’s AutoPilot suit allows a granular control logic and for that setpoints are changed every 5 mins. The greenhouses unlock as high as 30% higher crop yield.
Autonomous Grower Strategy with AutoPilot
The AutoPilot at Koidra allowed Gre an autonomous grower, applying the latest innovations in Artificial Intelligence, that was capable of controlling the greenhouse autonomously and efficiently in Great Lakes Greenhouse Inc. The technology was tested on eggplants and cucumbers.
The daily life of greenhouse cucumber growers at GLG is a flurry of activity. Managing these temperature-sensitive cucumbers with delicate skin demands unwavering attention throughout the cultivation process, spanning seeding to packaging. These warm-season crops flourish within temperatures of 80°F to 85°F, basking in abundant sunlight.
Optimal selection of cultivars, disease resilience, and Parthenocarpic traits hold pivotal roles. Temperature regulation, maintaining a minimum of 65°F, and avoiding prolonged exposure to temperatures above 95°F are essential. Growth is supported by soilless media like perlite and coconut fiber, and transplanting occurs at 84°F to coincide with rapid germination. Prudent practices such as pruning, proper spacing, and strategic sun interception foster robust growth.
Given cucumbers’ nutrient-intensive nature, precise nutrient balance is critical. Navigating pest control and disease resistance effectively is paramount. Meticulous timing of harvest prevents overripening. In storage and packaging, temperature control is crucial, guarding against chilling injuries and ethylene exposure. The success of greenhouse cucumber cultivation is a mosaic woven from cultivar decisions, meticulous conditions, nutrient orchestration, vigilant pest management, and attentive post-harvest nurturing.
4 Months Great Lake Greenhouses achieves 19.6% Boost in Profitability
GLG implemented autopilot software for the zones cultivating cucumber in the month of July 18 2022. Over the course of 4 months, the growers at GLG monitored how the AutoPilot’s grower strategy impacted the crop and its yield until Oct 18 2022.
Within the first few weeks Autopilot found the optimal grower strategy specific to GLG greenhouse. It involved controlling heating, CO2, & venting using setpoints that changed every 5 min frequency. Finding this optimal grower strategy using trial and error would have been finding a needle in the haystack. It is also noteworthy that climate computers are not designed to have a granular control on setpoints.
The outcomes GLG growers achieved were remarkable. The yield (kg/m2) of sellable cucumbers and the energy efficiency (kg/kWh) of the zone were significantly higher without any increase in nutrients and labor. The autopilot increased the yield of cucumber from 13.7kg/m2 to 15.9 kg/m2 which amounts to 19.6% in cucumbers. What makes it even sweeter is that energy efficiency improved by 13.8%.
Koidra Inc. is an autonomous greenhouse company whose software aids growers in boosting yields, reducing resources, and promoting sustainable agriculture. The software is a climate computer addon that works with all existing climate computers including Hoogendoorn, Priva, Reeder, Argus etc. As of today Koidra’s autonomous software is used by top greenhouse players like Windset, GLG and Soli Organic across USA, Canada, Europe, and Vietnam.
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.
Contact to learn more
Apoorva Kiran – Director, Business Development