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WatchITgrow: Potato (Processing) sector in Belgium launches geo-information system

WatchITgrow: Belgium launches a country-wide geo-information system to strengthen the Potato (processing) industry

This Potato field in Belgium is featured on the homepage of the geo-information system WatchITgrow (WatchITgrow.be) that was launched last week by stakeholders of the Belgian potato sector.

WatchITgrow is a new geo-information platform developed for the potato sector in Belgium with the purpose to better estimate and increase the potato yield in a sustainable way.

With this web tool the Belgian potato growers and the potato traders and processors can quickly and in a user-friendly way access data and information on the growth of different potato varieties.

WatchITgrow is the result of 3 years scientific research under the projectname iPot. The iPot project started in 2014 under the auspices of the STEREO-III research programm of the Federal Public Planning Service Science Policy (BELSPO). WatchITgrow now makes the results of this scientific research available for the entire Belgian potato sector.

The power of Remote Sensing for the agricultural sector

WatchITgrow is the first platform to combine several types of data. Through the combination of satellite and drone images, weather and soil data and yield prediction models, the potato sector can consult, via watchITgrow, in a quick and efficient way the correct information on one of multiple potato fields.

With these additional insights users can:

  • Access more and more accurate information on the state of the crop;
  • Better monitor the potato crop in function of growth, health status and development;
  • Map spacial variability within the field;
  • Guarantee and increase the yield;
  • Estimate the harvest date and yields during the season;
  • Reduce production and quality losses

Not only external data but also proprietary data from the potato industry (such as results from yield and quality assessments) can be centralised in this geo-information platform. This allows the users to check in an easy way for example which part of the production area gives the best yields or where a certain potato variety performs better or worse and what the possible causes may be.

WatchITgrow, the potato sector and research world, side by side

After 3 years of scientific research by scientists from Flanders and Wallonia (VITO, CRA-W and ULG) together with the potato traders and processors (Belgapom), the online geo-information platform watchITgrow is born. The platform is developed for the potato sector with extensive input from the sector.

The data and knowledge of the potato sector enabled the researchers to fine-tune and gradually improve the monitoring system. Thanks to the additional field data, the application will keep improving and become more accurate season after season.

(Click picture to watch video)

Video introducing watchITgrow (in Dutch and French...)

This innovative instrument can form the basis of further applications within the field of precision agriculture, for example disease prevention and fertilization, but also the possibility to link to the field registration system of Vegaplan.

Crucial is the fact that the potato grower – potentially in agreement with his customers – remains himself the owner of his data.

Access to WatchITgrow is restricted. Belgian companies can access the geo-information platform at www.watchitgrow.be

Contributing organisations

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Belgapom is an organisation representing the interest of the Belgian Potato Processing companies
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