Watch iT Grow! The name says it all. Harvest, production, …. Watch it grow and, even more important, monitor your potato fields. A research project that started in 2014 turned into an innovative platform, ready to support the potato sector to sustainably increase the potato production. The new platform is officially announced by all the project partners at the international trade fair Interpom-Primeurs.
In August 2014, Belgapom, VITO, CRA-W & ULg proudly presented the iPot research project. Goal of the project? To develop a platform to support the sustainable growth of the Belgian potato production. A joint project team was set up with researchers from VITO Remote Sensing, CRA-W and ULg together with Belgapom, the organization for the Belgian potato trade and processing industry.
Research and Industry working side by side on a sustainable increase of the potato production
Watch iT grow is a web based geo platform that collects all available data on potato growth: starting from in situ data over meteo data to observations from the sky by using both drone- and satellite images.
Bringing al this geo data together is of great value for the potato sector and an absolute necessity to increase the potato production in a sustainable way.
By using Watch iT Grow, it is possible for the individual potato grower to monitor the development of his potato fields in an easy and efficient way. It will make it possible to react quickly and take corrective measures where necessary.
For every potato parcel it will be possible to:
- Detect problems in an early stage and intervene in time
- Assess the development stage of the crop and the potential harvest date
- Distinguish good fields from less productive ones
- Assess the production risk and quality losses by monitoring temperature, precipitation, soil moisture and the overall crop health.
Predict yields from tuber setting onwards
- This project demonstrates how precision agriculture can be applied in the potato sector.
Belgium, the largest export company of frozen potato products in the world
The Belgian potato sector went through a spectacular development the past few years. Almost 23% of the production is exported as frozen potato products outside the EU. In order to stay in pole position, it is important that this dynamic sector of mainly family run businesses keeps on investing in sustainable growth. Not only to ensure availability but also to maximize efficiency. Therefore Watch iT Grow is the platform to realise this growth.
From iPot to Watch iT Grow
The platform is a nice result of a solid co-operation between researchers, potato farmers, traders and processing companies. The iPot projects ends in May 2017. What started as a research project, financed by the Belgian Science Policy (BELSPO) has evolved towards an innovative webtool. From 2017 onwards, the tool will also be made available to the industry and farmers as Watch iT Grow.
A large amount of field data was made available through a co-operation between researchers, growers and industry, allowing the researchers to steadily optimize the monitoring tool. After 2,5 years of hard work, the partners are proud to announce this innovative tool.
For general information about the project, please contact Romain Cools (Belgapom)
For questions about the watch iT Grow webtool, please contact Jürgen Decloedt (VITO Remote Sensing)
VITO Remote Sensing
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