The use of plant protection products in greenhouse horticulture has decreased lately. The figures show a drop from almost 180,000 kg of active substances in 2012 to around 130,000 kg in 2016. Consequently, you would infer that the expenses for the grower have declined as well. Nonetheless, the development costs for new products are mounting due to stricter compliance requirements and risk assessment. For example, the average prices for plant protection products (in Belgium) grew by around 2% in 2014. Ultimately the growers have to foot this bill.

Registration of substance usage

In addition, the use of (chemical) crop protection products is being restricted progressively. The EU, the national governments and the civil society organizations exert considerable pressures on such products and their users.  This is due to their effect on, among others, groundwater quality, biodiversity and public health. I will not debate whether that is correct or not. However, it does have an additional impact. It involves a higher need for the registration of plant protection products throughout the entire chain. The use of products and the burden of registering them is the grower’s responsibility.

Conflicting data on crop protection products usage

Product labels are becoming more precise, contain more information, and dictate higher demands on the person who applies them. For instance Pirimor lice pesticide labels: from 2016 to date, six different user guides have followed one after another.

Consequently, say, a grower is confronted with several bottles of Pirimor with varying usage instructions. The dosage, the number of permitted applications per year and the safety periods differ, making it almost impossible for the grower to discern his task.

Registration of plant protection products & ERP-software

The recording of plant protection products may sound like a necessary evil that is a bother solely for you. However, if the registration is set up properly, you can convert the recorded data into useful information. To achieve this, ERP software (Enterprise Resource Planning) can offer the solution. Not only to keep track of the stock, but also to:

  • Gain insight into the moments, circumstances and used dosages as administered.
  • Analyze the efficacy and improve future applications.
  • Examine the treatment history of a particular lot.
  • Apply treatment templates per crop, period, customer and so on with ease.
  • Be able to make forecasts for product requirements.
  • Automatically make cost calculations that include both labor and product consumption.
  • Guarantee accountability towards the customer, consumer, inspection and so on.

The potential is endless. With PowerBI, for example, explicit analysis can be made to support product selection. Observations and inspections can be carried out with ease using smartphones or tablets. It could further be enhanced with photos of a specific lot or section. Subsequently, crop treatment planning can be improved and errors can be traced. Thus, crop protection registration emerges not only as a system that supports decision making, but also as an instrument to clean out your closet. That saves time and money for a grower!

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