Advanced technology is revolutionising industries around the globe. Agriculture is also undergoing enormous change due to advanced resources such as IoT sensors, hi-tech agricultural machinery, and automated harvesting. Plant nurseries, on the other hand, lagged behind most other industries in the adoption of digital technology and management software. However, it is finally starting to change.
As the germination of vegetable seeds in the field is relatively poor and the young plant requires more time to mature, the crops are generally grown in a nursery. During the early stages of growth, young plants developed through seed propagation or vegetative reproduction require lots of care. They must be protected from various external factors such as heavy rain, temperature fluctuations, pests, and diseases. Therefore, efficient nursery management remains of high importance in today’s agricultural landscape.
The Fundamentals of Nursery Management
Nursery management practices involve many skills as well as the use of digital technologies. The process starts with the procurement of planting materials such as seeds or vegetative propagules. These materials must have been appropriately stored and handled to avoid loss of viability, water or temperature stress, and any physical damage. The first phase of nursery management also includes planning land requirements and planting procedures followed by the preparation of nursery beds.
In the second phase, growers are required to implement several nursery management systems including soil management, control of seedling density, use of fertilizers, irrigation, and pest control. Crops that are poorly managed in the nursery generally struggle to perform well when planted out in the field. Therefore, attention should be paid to input supply, weeds, and pests.
The third phase of nursery management involves monitoring and evaluation of tasks performed. Critical analysis of crop performance and other parameters, rapid response to any threats and changes, and resource management are keys to successful plant production in a nursery.
Challenges in Conventional Nursery Management Practices
Poor nursery management due to insufficient planning and performance analysis can lead to numerous issues. Moreover, nurseries without proper facilities, supplies, and skilled staff tend to produce poor-quality crops. Lack of knowledge about growing plants to meet morphological and physiological quality targets can severely affect nursery management practices. Common issues due to poor nursery management also include low germination, undesirable shoot-to-root ratio, deformed roots, and disease infestations, especially on leaves and stems.
Deformed roots are one of the most common problems when the timing is not well coordinated with transplant activities. The persistence of these deformations after replanting can lead to more problems such as poor access to soil water and nutrients. The undesirable shoot-to-root ratio of nursery-grown seedlings occurs due to poor culturing. Consequently, the root system is unlikely to support the large shoot after replanting in the field. These issues combined with insufficient resources, poor water management, and inefficient maintenance of stock plants can lead to revenue loss and nursery closure.
The Rise of Nursery Management Software
There has never been a better time to find out what automation and nursery management software can do for your nursery. Automated technology can allow nurseries to perform tasks without needing human assistance and is a game-changer in places where skilled labour is scarce. Simultaneously, nursery management software has rapidly advanced to the point that plant growers are using it for managing basic tasks to complex problems.
Nursery management software simplifies production, inventory, and agricultural planning for to help nursery businesses in regulating supply-demand needs in the market and drive higher profit margins. Nursery management software solutions such as FarmERP cover the entire ‘farm to fork’ cycle and provide smart crop advisory solutions.
Understanding the Role of Nursery Management System
A digitalized nursery management system helps growers become more organized and grow better crops. It also allows better care of younger plants by providing favourable growth conditions, and the crops become economically more profitable.
Improves Production Planning
With a wealth of seasonal growing information and updated data, nursery management software allows growers to plan their production in terms of planting, selecting, and restocking seeds, tubes, plugs, plants, and growing mediums. The system also generates various task and resource requirements to plan production, sales goals, and finished products. Furthermore, it keeps a record of previous growth results, thus enabling the generation of crop-wise financial reports.
Aids in Crop Cultivation and Pest Management
The nursery management system aids growers in managing various cultivation tasks such as crop fertilization, strimming, spreading, quality checks, and others. Insights into cultivation duration are supplemented with quality and climate data. It also manages all production tasks in one place and keeps track of plant locations, from its infancy in a nursery to its eventual planting in a landscape, through geotagging. Moreover, it tracks the ready date, optimizes inputs, and creates a bill of resources for each plant to automate production planning.
In nursery management practices, the ability to identify and control plant diseases along with water deficit or excess in the field is critical. The software supports the automation of recurring tasks such as spraying fertilizers and pesticides. Real-time alerts upon the detection of plant diseases and pending spray orders further contribute to disease control in a nursery.
With the rapid adoption of management software solutions, the future of nursery growth remains strong. FarmERP is one such software that is making waves and helping growers do everything from controlling the climate to plant watering and material handling. Contact us to know how we enable our users to make informed decisions at the right time.