SWEETVEG project - Increasing yields of sweetcorn and tomatoes and improving compliance with food processors' requirements using precision farming methods
The aim of the SweetVeg project is to increase the yield and quality of sweet corn and tomatoes. The solution helps optimize nutrient uptake, irrigation, and harvest time for key quality attributes for sweet corn and tomatoes.
Within the framework of the international project, the methods are being developed in parallel, with experiments on sweetcorn in Hungary and with experiments on tomatoes in Portugal. Hungary is one of the largest producers of sweet corn in Europe, and sweet corn is the largest volume produced by the domestic refrigeration and canning industry. The same is true for tomatoes in Portugal. Due to the volume of cultivation and the fierce competition on the international market for processed fruit and vegetables, the economically sustainable production of these two crucial crops is of paramount importance.
The SweetVeg project provides an innovative solution using sensors following the cultivation process, information technology-based processing of the data and prediction of the optimum ripening time in order to meet the quality requirements of the processing industry. With lower costs and quality parameters, more marketable produce can be provided to processors. The project will collect data on soil, nutrient supply, sunny hours and water supply. Using the information collected on the soil, we investigate the characteristics of the soil, the relationship between the environmental effects on the crops and the developmental stages of the crops, using IT tools to influence the yields of the given area and the quality parameters required by the processors.
The results obtained, field solutions can be useful from both sides of the supply chain. On the one hand, it can be beneficial to growers because it can control the food raw material produced, optimize water and nutrient management, and reduce pesticide use, where appropriate, by monitoring and supporting cultivation. On the other hand, the processing side can also reap the benefits of our solution by providing you with raw materials that are more suited to your quality needs, with more predictable harvesting and delivery times than today.
In the refrigeration and canning industry, Campden specifications for processed vegetables and fruits, which also describe raw material requirements, are widely accepted worldwide. Specifications of crushed and tubed corn, tomato puree, cut and peeled whole canned tomatoes are used as reference in world trade. These requirements are used as a starting point for determining the expected quality of the produce, as compliance is considered to be an essential condition for commercial success.