News

Talking to flowers

Talking to flowers

18 April 2019

Have you seen Google’s new initiative yet? It’s called Google Tulip and it was presented on 1 April. Obviously, the date is a warning sign here. And indeed, Google Tulip was a brilliant joke for April Fools’ Day. If you missed it, you can find the movie here.

The idea for Google Tulip was that scientists had found a way to transform the language of the iconic Dutch flower into human speech. So the movie shows people talking to tulips. And things get very funny indeed when we end up in the Keukenhof flower garden and a cacophony of ‘tulip voices’. It’s worth a look.

Because even though it’s a joke, the idea behind it is not altogether crazy. Just imagine your crops being able to tell you exactly what they need and when. That would make growing very easy.

Most growers know their crops and they know when their plants are too dry or perhaps too wet, whether they are happy and whether they are actually a little bit off-colour. A grower knows what his crop has to say. The problem is just that a lot of signals arrive when it’s actually too late. You want to get ahead of the loop so that your crops are fresh and vigorous every day. That’s the language of plants you want to hear!

ErfGoed believes that we can make a lot more progress in this direction. For example, we are working on the development of sensors in our cultivation floor to make it easy to see how much water a crop needs. We are doing this in combination with growth models tailored to individual crops. The model knows how big a plant is and how many square centimetres of evaporating leaves there are. That information is linked to the weather forecast. So on a warm day with wind from the east, a crop will need more water than on a cloudy, almost windless day. What about that for progress! And it’s no April Fool’s joke.

Do you want to know more or are you looking for a sparring partner? Don’t hesitate to give me a call or send me an email.

Hugo Paans
managing director