Fruit grower Boxford Farms partners with greenhouse supplier Gardin to test strawberry monitoring technology

Gardin's crop monitoring technology

Gardin’s crop monitoring technology measures plant stress

Suffolk fruit farm Boxford has teamed up with UK greenhouse firm Gardin to trial Gardin’s crop-health-monitoring technology in a bid to maximise its greenhouse-grown strawberry yields, reports Hortidaily.

Gardin’s photosynthetic measuring system monitors crop health in real-time by measuring a plant’s photosynthetic performance, Gardin explained. Growers can then use the data provided to adjust greenhouse conditions if necessary.

Mike Marita, Boxford’s farm manager, told Hortidaily: “We had noticed that plants in certain areas of our glasshouse were getting stressed, but it was difficult to know exactly when or what was going wrong. The Gardin solution allows us to see a decline in health in real-time, and well before it becomes visible. This, in turn, allows us to adjust our growth strategy and farm operations.”

A key challenge for commercial glasshouse growers is microclimate variability within the same greenhouse zone, which leads to non-uniform distributions of temperature, relative humidity, carbon dioxide concentration and irradiation. This heterogeneity creates problems for crop growth, production and quality, Gardin’s senior plant scientist Dr Steven Grundy explained.

“Our technology’s ability to detect these differences in plant health and provide real-time insights to farmers is what sets it apart,” he said. “The trial results show a promising positive correlation between the change in plant health and the yield of the strawberries, demonstrating the value of our technology in improving crop health and boosting yield.”

Gardin said will continue its partnership with Boxford Farms through 2023, monitoring strawberries throughout the growing season.

“This partnership will help Boxford optimise farm performance and further demonstrate Gardin’s commitment to improving crop health and yield for commercial glasshouse growers,” Grundy said.