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PlantTape: a new way of transplanting

06/04/2018 - François-Xavier Branthôme - Lire en français
“Machines made transplanting easier, PlantTape gives it speed”

After a year of successful trials, revolutionary automated transplanting system, PlantTape, is hosting an open house that will highlight the system’s success in transplanting tomatoes. The event will be held in Five Points (California) on April 10th from 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM.

Originally developed in Spain, the PlantTape automated transplanting system is ideal for agricultural producers aiming for increased efficiency and productivity in their operations. The system is more efficient than the conventional transplanting methods using plugs and soil blocks. PlantTape offers a fully integrated system from sowing the tape, to germination and nursery care, to transplanting in the field. PlantTape is commercially used to plant lettuces, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, onions, tomatoes, cabbage and other crops are currently on trial. PlantTape was acquired by Tanimura & Antle in 2014 for technical development and commercialization in the United States.

According to the company, “PlantTape provides a greater density of plants per tray than the standard plug system, which maximizes efficiencies at all levels of an operation; germination, greenhouse, and transportation. Transplanting increases stand counts, reduces seed costs and the automated transplanter minimizes the need for additional labor in the field.”
After four years and 25,000 acres of development with the PlantTape system, we are excited to showcase what we have learned and how we can apply the automated technology to the tomato industry,” stated Brian Antle, President of PlantTape. “With the availability of labor declining and hourly costs increasing, we must look to turnkey automation solutions, such as PlantTape.”

The system is currently being used for the commercial planting of a variety of crops in the United States and Europe. “In California, we are on our second year of trials where last week (week 13/2018) we began planting 60 acres of commercial processing tomatoes for which we will be hosting a large industry open house on April, 10.  We are also planning to do some smaller trials in Canada this year as an introduction with growers in the Ontario region”, says Brian Antle. The European Director for PlantTape, Bram Stroot, explains that “transplanting [processing] tomatoes is an excellent application for our system; the crops have developed very well, with equal yields and a superior root structure”. According to the company, the advanced technology, adaptable to most crops, plants more in less time with less labor and fewer inputs than traditional transplanting, and achieves stronger, more uniform stands.

Experts from PlantTape are looking forward to sharing what they have learned from the past year of trials and discussing how the tomato processing industry can adopt the innovative planting technology into their growing operations. The open house will allow visitors to evaluate the transplanting machine while it works to plant a 20 acre tomato trial alongside another 20 acres previously planted for evaluation.

Transplanting machine is planting 3 rows of tomato with a spacing of 150 cm between rows. The machine is also placing the drip irrigation close to the plants.

For more information:

A video is available on the company’s website, which explains the entire system, from sowing to transplanting.

Sources:, PlantTape

Some complementary data:

PlantTapeTomato Flyer Final





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