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NZGourmet Expands Automated Substrate Monitoring

NZGourmet Expands Automated Substrate Monitoring

BumperCrop’s Solution Improves Production and Saves Time 

 

NZ Gourmet is one of the largest growers in New Zealand with operations up and down the length of the country. Rob Moston is the long-term employee and Grower Manager of one site in Kumeu. Eight months ago, he started using BumperCrop’s automated Water Content and EC substrate monitoring sensors for his tomato plants which are grown in coco peat slabs. He was impressed with the results and bought one shortly afterwards. 

Previously his only tool to track Water Content and EC was his irrigation runoff water which he had to check manually. He has found direct measurements in the slab to be more accurate and closer to what plants are experiencing compared to runoff measurements.  It has also been informative to see how EC can differ across the slab. Drier parts of the slab that are away from the dripper often have higher EC due to limited flushing occurring. 

 

Two BumperCrop sensors in cocopeat at NZ Gourmet Kumeu

 

The automatic nature of the sensors means that he can get data at all times, not just when he has time to do a runoff measurement. This makes it much easier to keep WC & EC trends on track and within his desired parameters, leading to improved production. If Rob sees something is out of balance, he can now correct it much more quickly than before resulting in healthier plants. Text message alerts that can be configured to go off when WC or EC reaches a certain level help to remind him when his attention is needed.

 

Water Content and EC reading trends for two sensors shown over a 3 day period.

 

Rob recently decided to purchase two additional units, each with two sensors bring his total number of sensors to six. Having additional sensors makes it easier to detect differences across the slab and in different crops located around the site. In particular this is important for his berries which have a much lower tolerance to EC. The EC of the fertilizer going on for berries is normally kept at about 1. 

 

“This is a fantastic tool that’s great value for money.” Rob has been looking for a better alternative to the expensive and complicated gear that’s out there for a while. He also finds being able to see the readings on his phone at any time, without the need to go and take any manual measurements to be another big advantage. 

 

The latest readings can be viewed on a mobile device.

 

Cover photo: A BumperCrop device automatically transmitting sensor readings

 

 

About BumperCrop

 

BumperCrop provides precision insights and automation technology to covered crop growers so that they can improve their production and reduce operational costs. Their products include:

- Automated wireless substrate sensors

- Labour management and operational efficiency technology

- Crop yield, growth and performance monitoring 

 

Website: http://mybumpercrop.com/

Phone: Adam Forbes 027 351 2512

 

 

 

 

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