Interview with Pieter van Leeuwen Boomkamp
Pieter is running his farm right next to the Betuwe, a protected nature park in the Netherlands. He farms over 87 different fields covering a total of 140 hectares. “I’m farming a few large fields, but most of them have the size of a postage stamps”.
My fields are curvy, which means I have lots of turns to make. I thought “this should be done differently”. I have been looking for a good spray system for a while, but no one could convince me or show me a solution that works.
“It is user friendly and running smoothly, I don’t want to go back!”
Now, it is his second season and sprayed over 3000 hectares with BBLeap. Partially based on task maps using soil scans and drone data, but also regular blanket spraying.
Farm Facts van Leeuwen Boomkamp
LeapBox since spring 2021
Farmer / Farms: 140 ha
Sprays: 700 – 800 ha per year
Brand: Fendt Rogator
Boom: 36 meters / 50cm nozzle spacing
Crops: Starch potatoes, onions, sugar beets, corn, cereals, and some grass.
Location: Nijkerk, the Netherlands
Why did you choose BBLeap?
My fields have lots of corners and I was really fed up with over- and underdosing. Spraying can be done so much better.
Then Peter (founder BBLeap) called and visited me. I learned about BBLeap and that it can spray where and how much you actually want. Honestly, at first, it sounded too good to be true. After our meeting, I was fully confident.
My new trailed Fendt sprayer with the BBLeap system arrived in the spring of 2021. So far, I have sprayed over 3000 hectares and everything that I was promised, has come true.
Keeping the potatoes clean
Keeping your potato fields clean can be a challenge. Usually, problems start in weaker areas. Like an outer corner, or at the headlands. Because the distribution is now perfectly equal at any spot in the field, every single crop is evenly protected. I have kept my fields clean from phytophthora this year!
“This year I have kept my fields clean. Now, I am really in control“
BBLeap adjusts the volume to speed
I used to set a volume that I wanted to spray, but that was linked to the desired driving speed. So, when I was accelerating or slowing down the volume remained the same. Otherwise, the droplets would not be good.
LeapBox adjusts the volume to speed. It doesn’t matter If I drive 1km/h, 5km/h, or 8km/h the volume adjusts instantly accordingly, the droplet size is correct and the distribution is right. Now everything goes automatically, I have so much more time to look around, make sure my booms don’t get tight up in fence wiring and to observe my crop.
I used to be stressed about having a good distribution, especially in the corners. The chances of getting mold in the corners are high. You want to be assured of the coverage that you need. Now I can trust LeapBox that I have perfect coverage. No overdoses, and no weak spots.
Do you notice a difference in the corners?
Yes, one of my fields has lots of corners. Occasionally phytophthora would show up. This season, since I am working with LeapBox I have kept it clean. That’s definitely the work of better and even coverage.
Hurting the onions
Onions are part of my crop rotation. A wonderful crop, but onions get hurt so easily. Just the smallest overdose, and they are really damaged. Previously there was always a spot I overtreated unintentionally.
With LeapBox I don’t need to overapply anymore or increase the dose just to be sure. I know what I spray, at all places.
When you move into a corner, you notice that your boom is hanging still for a moment. You bully your crop at that moment. Later in the season, the crops would lay flat exactly on that spot because you have over applied. At the same time, the plants at the outer corners are exposed to higher risk. You under apply there and the coverage is insufficient. That’s really annoying to me!
Is LeapBox user friendly?
Personally, I find that “spray round of crop protection” very important. Spraying is not my favorite thing to do, but the ability to monitor my crops weekly is essential. By observing my crops, I can anticipate on pests, fungi or growth inhibition and adjust the amount of crop protection and liquid ferilizer accordingly. I compare the current weeks to previous ones, and if I see a thorn apple (devil’s snare), I will bring my shovel the next time to remove it.
Observing my crops becomes easier now because I get the time to do so. During spraying, I have to pay considerably less attention to the system, if any at all. The technology works flawlessly. This makes the drive a lot easier and more enjoyable.
“I am confident that it sprays the right distribution with this advanced technology, I have never caught it on any mistakes.”
Farming on Plant Level using task maps
Working with task maps should become a habit for most. With onions, I saw the need for it directly. Onions are a vulnerable crop. By not pestering them too much, but only controlling the weeds, my yields would be higher. In Dacom (Farm Management Software), I process my task maps with the correct baseline data.
Manual adjustment? no longer necessary!
Phytophthora often occurs in edgy fields because in many cases the distribution is uneven in inside and outside turns. This usually means paying close attention to the boom, making manual adjustments, and sometimes spraying a little more to keep the dosage right. This year I didn’t touch those buttons at all. The LeapBox did it all automatically and by itself.
Pieter van Leeuwen Boomkamp’s experience at a glance
- Easy to use
- Spray quality
- No clogged nozzles
- Work with task maps
- Corner compensation
- Ready for the future
- Satellite data
How future proof are you?
LeapEye puts my sprayer to work
With LeapEye being the camera that puts my sprayer to work, I hope that in the future I can let the sprayer make its own decisions if the calculations and algorithms are correct. I am investing in the newest technology to be future ready. With the right observations, I can add even more variation to my spray application. I expect that with this system and algorithms, the camera will soon be able to see exactly which plant to skip or not.
The advantages of LeapBox
I received a call the other day from someone whose system wasn’t functional. His system got clogged from the slightest amount of dirt, he told me. Five times a day, people had to open and clean the system. These men also wanted to come to my place and unscrew my cap holders to see if I had similar problems. Fortunately, I have never experienced anything like that. My advice to him would be to purchase a LeapBox as well. He was told by his dealer that it was his fault and that he was using the wrong liquids that dissolve poorly. Now he has to deal with hot water and other emergency solutions. I use the same mixtures and do not experience these problems at all with the LeapBox.
I have been trying out several things with BBLeap and I think I could go even further with the plant level and variable spray capabilities. At least, I’m not done trying them out yet.
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