Our article on how robotics is helping the horticulture sector in this month’s edition highlights the crucial role automation of all kinds will play in the sector in the future.
Challenges around labour will sadly remain for some time so using this kind of progressive and effective technology to help support and develop the sector in an efficient way has to be the way forward.
A recent report by Rabobank has said that the market for robots and artificial intelligence (AI) in greenhouse horticulture represents ”enormous potential value” in terms of sustainability, a higher-quality harvested product, better working conditions and a higher product price.
But as the article shows and the Rabobank report goes on to say, robotics won’t just be used to replace labour but provide opportunities to help growers solve many other problems and complete different tasks.
“Growers will not produce more cheaply because of robotisation and digitalisation, but mostly differently,” said the report. ”Managing larger, more international companies will become easier, management skills will change, and the cooperation with suppliers and customers will become closer.”
On top of this and following a major review of automation in horticulture, the government has also announced a £12.5m investment in automation and robotics through the Farming Innovation Programme, on top of more than £70m spent so far.
Robotics is also helping to enhance the data growers are receiving to help them maker quicker more informed decisions.
As more robotic trials take place in glasshouses and packhouses, the confidence grows in the benefits of what it can deliver and achieve. As the technology improves and the more it is used, the more affordable it will get for the smaller growers, and that will bring more opportunities to a larger group of growers.
In the glasshouse, the ability to harvest more accurately and quicker will lead to greater efficiencies, especially as robotics works in harmony with other glasshouse infrastructure and deals with tasks such as pest management and data collection.
Those who have already embraced robotics are reaping the benefits, the bigger question is what challenges can it help solve in the future? That is why all funding streams for future research will be worth every penny.
The December issue is out now & includes
- Pollinator ban despite evidence
- Dutch Autumn fairs
- Incomes up but one in three unprofitable
To read these and more from “The Commercial Greenhouse Grower” subscribe today – find out more here.