Precise horticulture is all about knowing and doing

We see knowledge, technology and automation rightly as the boon for increase of horticulture production. However, there is that other aspect: correct implementation or “doing, what has to be done”. That is not a privilege of horticulture, it applies even to your personal activities.

In all cases implementation of the right knowledge, done efficiently (doing the things right) and effectively (doing the right thing) increases the chances for success.

It sounds like an understatement, but from experiences in the field I can tell that it often does not happen so easy and it is not entirely in your own hands.

Implementation depends on how well the sector is organised, especially the supply sector of products and services. Then the same applies to your own business; how well are you equipped and organised. Last but not least, how much do you know about the crop and cultivation (soil, nutrients, pests and diseases, climate, etc). If you bring all this together, the bottom line is, how well you are able to do what has to be done. That then includes your own attitude and capabilities.

It is thus very different if you are a grower, say in the Netherlands or a farmer in the rural areas of India. In India, as in many other locations in the world, the sector is rather unorganised on all levels and the farmers face many ad hoc problems as unavailability of inputs, labour, power supply.

Growers’ own condition is often limited by funds, equipment, water, soil and climate.

All that is somehow the ‘hardware’ of the business.

There are also important issues in the ‘software’. This concerns mainly the grower himself: management skills, network, also preciseness, commitment and discipline.

There is knowledge (and thinking) required to understand what are the right cultivation practises, which will differ in detail according to location, hence conditions. Traditional growing will have its influence as well. Growing techniques and choice of crop depend on circumstances on the farm and the ability of the grower to analyse crop stand and demands, recognise early stages in pests and diseases, deficiencies, etc.

Having all this in mind will help to make a realistic planning of time and inputs, what to do and how to do. But, with or without technology, even with limited knowledge, implementation is parameter.

That brings us closer to ‘precise horticulture’, increasing production for all growers, who put effort into this, step by step.

The implication of this narrative is that giving knowledge and technology to many a grower is not sufficient. Follow up to oversee correct implementation is necessary and that requires a high level of involvement.