Trial on optimization of light utilization in winter tomato cultivation

This week, a trial involving tomatoes will start at two separate locations. The purpose of the study is to determine what the ideal LAI (Leaf Area Index) is in the winter period for the lit cultivation of tomatoes. One company grows the Melice tomato, the other one the cocktail tomato Brioso. The trial started at the request of a large group of tomato growers, with financing from Kas als Energiebron (“Greenhouse as Energy Source”) and under the guidance of LTO Noord Glaskracht. The implementation is in the hands of Demokwekerij Westland.

The trial, apart from harvest optimization and crop improvement, has a clear energy-related target. It may be assumed that in an optimal crop, there’s no unnecessary evaporation emanating from leaves. Reducing the total evaporation requires less moisture deduction.

Both companies deploy three leaf picking strategies, wherein 33%, 44% and 55% of the total number of leaves is removed from the crop. By closely monitoring the crop during the test, growers can determine the effect of different leaf picking strategies and the additional effects on growth rate, leaf development, production, fruit weight and LAI.

The trial will likely run until week 15 of the next year. After that it will be decided whether the study continues until the end of the growing season.

Source: Proeftuin Zwaagdijk

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