Janny Peltjes is the managing director of HLB BV / De Groene Vlieg Diagnostics. HLB conducts research, provides advice and diagnoses in the area of plant and soil health for the entire agricultural chain. HLB BV / De Groene Vlieg is specialised in research and recognition of all diseases, pests and weeds in open cultivation such as arable farming, flower bulbs, field vegetables, tree nurseries and sport fields. An important part of their portfolio is research in the field of quarantine organisms.
HLB wanted to extend its service package with analyses of soil fertility. That is why HLB purchased a Lab-in-a-Box (LiaB) from SoilCares (now part of AgroCares), bringing fast, reliable and affordable soil analyses to the Dutch market. HLB pairs the LiaB analyses with complete and practical advice. The extent of this advice depends on the chosen service package.
Why did HLB extend its service package with SoilCares LiaB?
SoilCares (part of AgroCares) and HLB share the same vision: bring field and crop monitoring into practice by making it feasible. Janny Peltjes sees many possibilities in the intensive way in which fertilisation research can be modelled. This enables HLB to extend its service package to customers with analyses of soil fertility.
Janny Peltjes: “We can now give the growers insight into their soil fertility within 1 day. We already do nematode sampling for many growers and take intensive soil samples. By combining this with a comprehensive soil survey, we can provide farmers with insight into site-specific soil fertility. This fits perfectly within our services and provides farmers with a significant added value.”
SoilCares and HLB: the perfect partnership
The expertise of SoilCares and HLB are perfectly aligned in several areas: “HLB is strong in practical knowledge and contact with end users while SoilCares’s strength lies in scientific knowledge and understanding of big data. The expertise of SoilCares also fits perfectly with the expertise of HLB in the development of business models.” An additional advantage is that HLB has a logistic service with which they take soil samples from their customers.
Future-proof precision agriculture
With the techniques of SoilCares, HLB is at the forefront of precision agriculture with big data. All data collected with the Lab-in-a-Box or Scanner are GPS-specific. This allows a grower or an advisor to gather a great deal of site-specific information about the fields and crops and gives them the possibility to identify trends.
Janny Peltjes: “By collecting a lot of data about a plot and crops, you can greatly improve the yield, not only in quantity but also in quality. With site-specific information about soil fertility, you can fertilise better, implement better cultivation measures and better breed plans. In the future, many more new applications will be possible, such as leaf analyses and plant content substances. We can then offer completely new services to our customers.”
Arable farmers who have charted the soil variation of their plot with the LiaB services are enthusiastic. Now that they know the soil variation, they see plenty of opportunities to increase the productivity of their land and further improve the quality of their yield.
Janny Peltjes is satisfied with the collaboration with SoilCares: “Because we are on the verge of an exponential development, we have developed many of the services together. We have frequent contact and if there are problems, they are always quickly resolved.” Janny Peltjes also sees that with every new update of the database the results of the Lab-in-a-Box are improving: “The number of parameters that we are able to accurately measure with the Lab-in-a-Box has increased and the accuracy per parameter has also improved.”