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User Stories

Our solutions run in a variety of crops, from flowers to high-wire vegetables.

 

Want to know what our users think, and how they are working with the PATS technology? Read all about it in their testimonials below.

Jump straight to our customer stories

Mastering caterpillars without chemical control at Jansen Paprika 

Bell Pepper

Marvin Koot, a technical crop protection specialist at Biobest Netherlands, has been consulting Jansen Paprika for years. Located in Andijk in The Netherlands, Jansen Paprika cultivates an impressive 25 hectares of red and yellow bell peppers. The company is a member of Growers United and is Planet Proof certified.

Together with Ron Jansen,
co-owner of Jansen Paprika, Marvin has taken on the challenge of using as little chemical crop protection as possible in the 2023 season. And successfully so. This achievement was partly thanks to the use of the PATS-C solution. The system was deployed in the fight against the Tomato looper (Chrysodeixis chalcites), a well-known pest in bell pepper. The caterpillars of this moth can quickly and extensively damage the crop. PATS-C recognizes and counts different moth species, keeping a precise track of activity and pest development. This allows for immediate response to impending infestations.

Biobest is a supplier of Kwekerij Jansen Paprika

(photo by Biobest Netherlands)

The caterpillar of the Tomato looper can cause significant damage in bell peppers.

PATS-C is a product of the company PATS. A developer based in Delft that specializes in creating monitoring systems for the automatic detection of pest insects in greenhouse horticulture, among other solutions in the field of IPM. For several years, Biobest and PATS have been collaborating in this domain. From this partnership, the Trap-Eye™ system was also developed. This system recognizes and automatically counts insects such as whiteflies, thrips, and leaf miners on sticky traps.

At the beginning of 2023, Ron was very interested in the solutions offered by PATS, especially PATS-C. In the years before, the company frequently faced issues due to the Tomato looper, sometimes resulting in significant damage caused by the caterpillars. At the start of the previous season, he installed this system in a 6-hectare section. Ron Jansen's experiences have been very positive: "At this location, we were able to combat the caterpillars entirely with biological control. 

The PATS-C dashboard displays the flight activity of the Tomato looper 

So, with less use of substances compared to previous years and without notable crop damage." Thanks to the monitoring system, Ron was able to choose the right moments throughout the season to use Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis), a biological agent against caterpillars. The PATS-C dashboard showed three moments in the season when adult moth activity in-creased; mid-June, mid-July, and mid-August. At these times, adult moths flew into the greenhouse from outside. After these increases in pest population were detected, a Bt product was applied shortly thereafter. This precise timing meant that the caterpillars came into contact with the agent right after the egg phase, preventing them from developing into moths. As a result, the damage to the crops was minimal, and new generations were stopped in their tracks.

For the 2024 season, Ron and Marvin have set their sights again on caterpillar control without the use of chemical pesticides. With the help of the PATS-C system, this should be a piece of cake. And it is not just the Tomato looper that is under surveillance; other moth species do not escape the 'eyes' of PATS-C either. For instance, the Duponchelia fovealis, which can also become problematic in pepper cultivation when present in high numbers.

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jansen paprika
Following last July's crop rotation, despite our thorough greenhouse cleaning and strict hygiene measures before planting, Duponchelia moth pest pressure persisted. The PATS-C system quickly identified adult moth flights shortly after planting, leading to a steady escalation of pest pressure that continues until today (early September).
"[With PATS-C], we were able to combat the caterpillars entirely with biological control.
So, with less use of substances compared to previous years and without notable crop damage."
“As soon as we saw the first Tomato looper this year using the data from the PATS-C system, we called a meeting with our crop protection advisor to plan our defence. The monitoring enabled us to start three weeks earlier, because we could clearly predict when the caterpillar phase would begin."

The Westland

Bell Pepper

Cooperation Royal Brinkman, PATS and Agrobío:
Biological caterpillar control at Kwekerij het Westland

Nursery the Westland will start a large-scale field trial for biological control of caterpillars in bell peppers in January 2024. Tomato looper and Tuta absoluta cause considerable economic damage in bell pepper cultivation. With the disappearance of chemical agents, it is important to make the most of the possibilities of biological control.  The field trial revolves around detection with the PATS-C moth detection system combined with the deployment of the parasitic wasp  Trichogramma achaeae as a biological solution.

The practical trial at Kwekerij het Westland in  the Netherlands compares two departments.

One department where signaling by PATS-C is combined with the use of TRICHOcontrol (the parasitic wasp Trichogramma achaeae) and a second department in combination with traditional crop protection agents. The faster the first signaling is from the tomato looper and the better the distribution of TRICHOcontrol is, the better and faster the caterpillar control will work.

Digital data collection
Moths lay eggs from which caterpillars develop, causing leaf and fruit damage. With the elimination of chemical agents, it is important to detect moths earlier. This is possible with the PATS-C automatic detection system. Growers have an earlier view of moths and can take action sooner, before the pest gets out of control. The technology involves the simple mounting of a PATS-C detection system to the greenhouse frame. Detection takes place at night, when the moths are active, and are captured by the camera. By linking to a data recording technique, the grower gets an overview of the presence of moths and the development of pest pressure in the morning, through clear graphs in his dashboard. Recognition at an early stage becomes possible, which is crucial for immediate intervention at the first pest pressure. PATS-C is an automatic detection system for all moth species, including not only Tomato looper (Chrysodeixis) and Tuta absoluta but also Duponchelia, Opogona (banana moth) and leafrollers. The advantage is that it provides the grower with a faster and more efficient detection system compared to the use of pheromone traps or trap lights. Users also mention the advantage of learning more about the behavior of moths (when they are active) and what effect a crop protection treatment has on the population. Advisors can also monitor pest pressure remotely.

Trichogramma
A good biological solution for caterpillar control was not available in the past. With the parasitic wasp Trichogramma achaeae, it was difficult to achieve good parasitization of moth eggs. Agrobío's new TRICHOcontrol is a product variant whose pupa come out very quickly and dosed. Now this is 3-14 days, where it used to be 10-14 days. A parasitization rate of almost 100% is realized. Combined with PATS-C signaling of
the very first moth and starting immediately with Trichogramma, expectations for this trial are high.

Kwekerij Het Westland in Naaldwijk has gained experience with PATS-C since May 2023.

Chris Bos: "With PATS-C we signaled very well the presence of tomato loopers, while at that time I found no adults in the traps. These insights help me respond even faster and more adequately to pest pressure. We have already experimented a bit with TRICHOcontrol last season and we have seen that Trichogramma also gives good parasitization in higher growing crops like bell pepper, but at the start the pest pressure was already too high. Next season we will therefore start this larger practical trial from the start of the new crop".

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"Now that we can follow the population development, we also use the dashboard to evaluate the effectiveness of our treatments. Based on the findings we adjust our strategy."
"With the dashboard I can easily track the first presence and population development of the Tomato looper pest. PATS-C is a solid addition to our scouting program.”
"Now that we know precisely which hours the adult moths are most active during the night, we have changed the time of application with our misting system (LVM)."

Hortipower

Tomato

Hortipower is a Belgian grower of plum tomatoes and affiliated with Coöperatie Hoogstraten. The company has been working with the PATS-C system for 2 seasons now. 

 

“This season we started the crop in January. In parallel, we started monitoring with PATS-C. Earlier detection of Tuta absoluta and Tomato looper pests is certainly useful. It aids our IPM program as it makes us more alert, apart from the weekly scouting which we already perform. We now know what to look for and when to look for it, making our searches for potential Tuta absoluta hotspots more targeted.”

Tuta absoluta is originally from South America, and today widely present in tomato crops in Europe and other continents. When present in the greenhouse, it can take 4 to 6 weeks before you see crop damages. With this solution we are more timely aware of an infestation. Seeing the adults from the very start enables very rapid intervention, stopping the pest development in its early stages. This means less interventions, saving us spraying rounds and accompanied cost. As PATS-C monitors pest activity each night, we can then also track the effect of each intervention on the population through the daily updated dashboard.

PATS-C is useful to me as a crop manager, as we have to allocate less labour to scouting and are enabled to act timely on pests.

 

Astrid Sneyders, Crop Manager

Hortipower (Tomeco)

Rani Mertens, Researcher

Research Centre Hoogstraten (PCH)

"With one camera we have a solid understanding of moth pressure development in our two hectares greenhouse."
"With PATS-C we can make decisions on interventions much earlier, resulting in less pest outbreaks."
"We now know that with BT applications we can keep up with the pest for a longer period, and as a result we use less insecticides."

LG Flowers

Gerbera

‘With PATS-C, active moths can be clearly monitored in the dark’

 

Gerbera nursery LG Flowers in Pijnacker started using one PATS-C system in March 2021. The excellent results achieved in combatting the golden twin-spot moth led them to expand to five systems at the start of this year. With PATS-C the moth pests are ‘visible’ a generation earlier than the observations with the standard traps. By having a picture of the population development sooner, the infestation can be handled better. 

 

When cultivating gerberas, the golden twin-spot moth, also known as the tomato looper (Chrysodeixis chalcites), presents a huge challenge, due to the lack of effective pesticides against the caterpillars. The caterpillars can cause a lot of damage in the crop very quickly and so must be monitored closely and combatted. “There are no good biological enemies against the golden twin-spot moth, which can take care of the problem completely. 

And in 2021 we did not have the right pesticides. Now there is a reliable agent on the market, but we could not use it in the spring and summer because of the biology” explained cultivation manager Mike Mulder. To monitor the moths, light traps are used, and their attraction is enhanced with a pheromone. This combination does trap a large proportion of the moths. A count is done weekly.

Monitoring activity under blackout screen 

The cultivation manager continued, “The introduction of the PATS-C system for monitoring has been greatly beneficial. You see what is happening under the blackout screen after it is closed at the end of the afternoon. As soon as it is dark, the moths become active and start flying around.”

He used the first year of implementation with PATS-C to become familiar with the system and conceive a strategy of what best to do with it. With the installation of PATS-C in March last year, the cultivation manager was actually lagging behind because the golden twin-spot moth was already flourishing. “To get this moth pest under control, we had to spray with an agent sometimes twice a week all summer and into the autumn. We wanted to ensure that we were rid of the infestation in the winter. We ultimately succeeded, so this year we started with a clean slate.”

 

Hanging cameras at crucial indication points

The five systems now hang at important indication points where the first moths could be expected to appear, distributed over three gardens amounting to a total of 12.5 hectares. Each camera has a light trap nearby. Mulder added, “At these crucial points in the greenhouse, we could clearly observe the first flying moth. As soon as we saw the first one this year using the data from the PATS-C system, we called a meeting with our crop protection advisor to plan our defence. The monitoring enabled us to start three weeks earlier, because we could clearly predict when the caterpillar phase would begin. 

Before then we could carry out a preventive spraying, so the caterpillars died as soon as they took the first ‘bite’ of an ingestion or contact agent.” Now, when the cultivation manager sees a spike on the data graph of the PATS-C dashboard, he can combat the golden twin-spot moth caterpillar by adding a selective agent to the spraying system. 

Limiting financial damage

“Last year we suffered extensive damage from the golden twin-spot moth. This year we had just a few caterpillars. We saw hardly any caterpillars (that ultimately do all the damage) among the plants. It is incredible how with PATS-C we have been able to limit the financial damage compared to last year.” The cultivation manager keeps scouting for the golden twin-spot moth in this way and annihilating it wherever found. He is even thinking of adding two more systems in the coming cultivation season at important indication points. Mulder has only praise for the advice and supervision provided by the PATS Indoor Drone Solutions company and the information provided for improvements to the tools. 

Mike Mulder - Cultivation manager 

LG Flowers

"We now fully trust the PATS-C system as our day-to-day monitoring device, and adjust our strategy accordingly. Before this, we used UV-traps for scouting. But now we only use these to catch away part of the adults."
"With the data from PATS-C we were able to adjust our strategy. We decided to do an extra application over the weekend when pest numbers rose, but were also able to cancel some nematode orders when numbers were very low, saving us money and damages."
“With PATS-C we already registered the activity of Duponchelia moths in April. At that moment I did not yet find any adults in the traps that I scout on a weekly basis. The pest was already longer present in my crops than expected. These insights help me to react faster and more adequately to first pest pressure.”

Ammerlaan TGI

Potted Plants

‘With the PATS-C system better insight into

insect populations’

 

In March 2021, Ammerlaan The Green Innovator in Pijnacker started using two PATS-C systems in two of its greenhouses. The monitoring of insects went so well that in June systems were also placed in the two other sections. 

In this commercial nursery, specialising in tropical green plants, both useful and harmful insects are found among the plants spread over 6.5 hectares. The damage is often difficult to see because the insects can act differently depending on the plant species. Thus, it can take some time before the presence of an unwanted insect is noticed. Insects should be monitored closely for a properly functioning IPM programme. Previously, scouting for insects involved dozens of sticky traps and light traps, which were checked and counted weekly. Cultivation manager Jan van der Arend compared these counts with the new data from PATS-C.

Preparing now for the future

“Intern Bas Krens, who studied the higher vocational HBO Horticultural Management programme, proposed using PATS-C to monitor the insect populations during an internship assignment,” said the cultivation manager. “We thought it was an interesting idea to see whether it would work for us. Especially because in the horticultural sector, the trend is to use less artificial crop protection, and we must halve the use of pesticides by 2030. We must not wait until the last minute, we need to prepare for the future.”

Reducing crop protection agents

PATS-C gives insight into the flying movements of various insects and indicates when they are going to fly. Certain species of insects will not fly while the sun is up, they wait until after sunset or even after midnight when it is really dark. Van der Arend added, “Our intention is to control the pests primarily through stricter hygienic measures, especially scouting out and disposing of weaker plants. And although we have focussed this year on doing more organically, it will still be necessary to make occasional corrections with chemical agents. That will involve trial and error.”

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Data use for control plan

The data from PATS-C is examined by several people in the company and the crop protection advisor. “Within the company we use the data in consultation with the cultivation staff for the proper timing and correct action plan to control the pests following the recommendations we receive. We have decided to install the PATS-C system in all our sections to monitor the entire nursery. We have found that it works, and that was sufficient reason to expand the system in June,” according to the cultivation manager. 

Continued development by PATS of the systems, in terms of both hardware and software, is influenced by what they observe in practice, which is greatly appreciated by the cultivation manager.

Jan van der Arend - Cultivation Manager

Ammerlaan The Green Innovator

Two days after Christmas we warned this tomato grower of an increase of Tomato looper activity. The next day they found nothing, but a week later they noticed a caterpillar infestation - in a spot where they did not expect it. Our contact wrote: "We have decided to act immediately against this pest. So your warning was certainly justified, thank you!"
“The monitoring of the Tomato looper moth in gerbera must be done at least once a week. In this way, timely action can be taken in case of (first) pest pressure. The PATS-C system is able to detect such moths earlier and with higher frequency than in conventional pheromone traps and UV-light traps."
“As soon as we saw the first Tomato looper this year using the data from the PATS-C system, we called a meeting with our crop protection advisor to plan our defence. The monitoring enabled us to start three weeks earlier, because we could clearly predict when the caterpillar phase would begin."

LKP Plants

Ornamentals

LKP Plants in Moerkapelle is, with 8 hectares, one of the largest and most modern Bromelia nurseries in the Netherlands. The company is fully committed to automation and digitization, and has invested heavily in automatic cultivation systems in recent years.

 

In addition, the company is undergoing major renovations

to make their greenhouses more sustainable. This sustainability is also reflected in their long-standing fully biological cultivation. Only natural enemies are used against various pest insects, including tricky moths and caterpillars that can cause a lot of damage.

At the end of 2021, LKP started using the PATS-C system in one of their greenhouses. With this system, Marco Koolhaas, co-owner, and Bas Krens, cultivation specialist, have automated and digitized the monitoring of moth pests. Bas: "I walk through the crop daily and quickly notice any deviations. But for the moth pest population development,

Photo: PATS-C overlooking young Bromelias

I now fully rely on the PATS-C system. We have also stopped inspecting the insect lamps, which were also difficult to inspect regularly due to our cultivation system."

Automated pest monitoring

So in terms of pest monitoring, LKP is fully committed to automation. Bas and Marco are highly satisfied with the PATS-C system and have demonstrated that the transition to a fully biological approach with natural enemies is paying off. This is a strategy that they will continue to follow as the range of available means becomes more limited. PATS-C is also a great addition to regular crop checks.

LKP's biological strategy consists of a standard "nematode recipe" which involves intensive use of two variants against thrips and moth pests. The nematodes are used at all LKP locations and are very effective in reducing the moth population. Chemical correction is only used in exceptional cases. In 2022, it was only necessary once to minimize the pest. Afterwards, LKP continued to control the pest with nematodes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Graph: Pest development of moths at LKP Plants measured with PATS-C

The successful biological approach that LKP has been using for years is also reflected in the data generated by the digital pest monitoring. Although there was considerable pressure measured throughout 2022, the population was successfully minimized during the past winter period. As a result, the starting situation in March this year (2023) shows to be very positive. The pressure is even 6 times (!) lower than the pressure from the moths in the month of March last year. Therefore, a much slower and gentler pest development is expected this season.

 

After the upcoming renovation of one of the greenhouses, LKP will expand the automatic pest monitoring to the other greenhouses this summer. In addition, the company is interested in PATS' solutions that automate pest control as support for the biological approach.

Marco Koolhaas - Co-owner

LKP Plants Bromelia specialist

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