Great Lake Greenhouses Achieves 28% Boost in Net Profit in Eggplant Farming Through Koidra’s Autonomous Grower

September 19, 2023

Great Lake Greenhouses Inc., Canada’s foremost year-round eggplant producer, is currently experiencing the rewards of…

Great Lake Greenhouses Inc., Canada’s foremost year-round eggplant producer, is currently experiencing the rewards of integrating Koidra AutoPilot into their autonomous greenhouse management system. Mark Reimer, Business and R&D Manager at Great Lakes Greenhouses, emphasizes the advantages brought about by adopting Koidra’s autonomous grower strategy through their AutoPilot suite subscription. Mark underscores how AutoPilot has significantly elevated crop yields, deepened their comprehension of crop conditions, and delivered invaluable insights into their overall greenhouse operations.

Leamington Facility, Great Lake Greenhouse Inc 

  • Location – Leamington, Ontario
  • 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
  • Climate Control: Hoogendoorn

Automatic Greenhouse to Autonomous Greenhouse 

Shifting from an Automatic Greenhouse to an Autonomous Greenhouse, the contemporary eggplant producer has been harnessing the power of Koidra HoogenDoorn for Climate Control in their greenhouse operations since the early 2000s. Recognizing the potential to amplify their produce yield through a more refined grower strategy, Mark Reimer and his team embarked on a journey of experimentation and precision in Climate Control. This pursuit led them to adopt Koidra Autopilot in early 2021. 

The catalyst behind this decision stemmed from growers’ quest for heightened control over the greenhouse climate and processes. Acknowledging the limitations of climate computers that operated on timed routines, such as shading adjustments at predetermined intervals, growers aspired for a more sophisticated approach. They sought to synchronize greenhouse operations with environmental cues rather than rigid timeframes, a feat achievable through dynamic control logics. Koidra’s AutoPilot suite emerged as the solution, enabling precise environmental-based control with setpoint adjustments every 5 minutes. The outcome? Greenhouses unlocked a remarkable upswing, yielding crop increases of up to 28%.

Autonomous Grower Strategy with AutoPilot 

Koidra’s AutoPilot emerges as a groundbreaking, physics-informed artificial intelligence (AI) solution for the autonomous management of greenhouses, specifically exemplified within the operations of Great Lakes Greenhouse Inc. This cutting-edge technology leverages advanced plant science algorithms to orchestrate greenhouse processes with exceptional precision and efficiency.

Notably, AutoPilot’s versatility extends across an extensive array of crops, encompassing lettuce, bell pepper, strawberry, basil, cucumbers, and eggplants, among others. Evidently, industry leaders such as Windset, Great Lake Greenhouses, Soli Organic, and West Coast have embraced AutoPilot to elevate their enterprises to unprecedented levels of performance and productivity.

Greenhouse Eggplant Growers Are Busy!

Greenhouse eggplant growers find themselves immersed in a demanding and intricately timed routine due to the exacting requirements of cultivating these heat-loving plants. The process kicks off with meticulous soil preparation, creating an environment conducive to optimal growth.

The delicate balance of temperature is a continuous task, with the need to maintain night temperatures between 17-22°C and day temperatures at 22-27°C to foster healthy development. Seedling cultivation demands precision, from germinating seeds in specialized trays under controlled conditions to ensuring 14-16 hours of daylight to promote robust growth. Planting the seedlings at specific times, such as September-October for single-crop or late January-mid February for spring period cultivation, initiates a cycle that can take 3.5 to 5 months to culminate in harvest. The intricacy of monitoring each phase—temperature, lighting, watering, pruning, and maturation—can overwhelm growers, prompting a shift toward innovative solutions.

This is why eggplant growers are increasingly turning to AI-enabled autonomous grower strategies like Koidra, a pioneering technology designed to streamline every stage of greenhouse eggplant cultivation. Koidra’s ability to seamlessly manage the precise temperature ranges, daylight exposure, and growth cycles has become invaluable, allowing growers to focus on other essential tasks and ensuring a successful harvest.

4 Months to achieve 28% Boost in profitability

GLG implemented autopilot software for the zones cultivating eggplants in the month of Sep 2021. Over the course of 4 months, the growers at GLG monitored how the AutoPilot’s grower strategy impacted the crop and its yield until March 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 eggplants 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 eggplant from 13.7kg/m2 to 15.9 kg/m2  which amounts to 19.6% in eggplants. What makes it even sweeter is that energy efficiency improved by 13.8%. 

About Koidra Inc

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