Delphy Softfruit Field Day expands into three-day Field Event

In June, Delphy is organising the Softfruit Field Day for the second time - the previous edition was such a success that the 'field day' has now been expanded into a real three-day 'Field Event'. "Besides the Field Day and the Field Trip that we already had last year, we will also do a Field Visit this year," says Vera Theelen, researcher softfruit at Delphy. "On this day, people can choose who they want to visit, for example Haifa, Signify or MJ Tech."

Day one and two of the event will look more or less the same as last year: a stage with seminars, followed by the Field Trip. Vera Theelen hints at one of the topics that will be covered.

Trial June bearers
"Strawberry growers in the Netherlands mainly grow June bearers - which are characterised by very large peaks in production, so not ideal, because a peak results in stress and more labour. In addition, it is also a peak for your plant load: a lot of production is released at once, which is also not good for prices."

So ideally, you would be able to grow strawberries year-round, a bit like tomatoes. "With tomatoes, you can very easily steer the plant by thinning, but unfortunately that's not possible with strawberries. That's why we did a trial together with Plant Lighting, using the low-chill June-bearing varieties of Fandango and Inspire."

In that trial, strawberries were exposed under special conditions, 'tricking' them. "June-bearing varieties actually produce flowers under short day length, 12 hours that is. But in summer, the days become too long and they stop flower production."

Vera Theelen of Delphy

Dipping strawberries
What they have done in the trial is to mislead or 'fool' strawberries, as Vera calls it. "We have now done that for the second year in a row, by giving them 12 hours of normal daylength and then giving them another 6 hours of post-exposure with red light. They don't experience that as day length, but they can use it for production, assimilation and so on."

This improves the planting balance: where a June bearer normally has to peak suddenly, you go much slower with the new method. "With the ultimate goal that you can grow year-round. For now, we focus on winter cultivation, where we want to get as much out of the plant as possible. So we already have plants in the greenhouse from September to July."

The strawberries are already starting to turn red

Towards year-round
So in Delphy's greenhouse, they already have almost year-round cultivation thanks to the new lighting regime, and in theory, full year-round cultivation is also possible. "We are still testing that now, but in principle it should just be possible, and we have already achieved great results. Last year in trials, we achieved a production of 15 kg per square metre."

Delphy will be present on the GreenTech, taking place from 13-15 June in Amsterdam. Visit Delphy at stand  05.141

For more information:
Agro Business Park 5
6708 PV Wageningen
Tel:+31 77 398 75 00

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