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Grodan and Fluence to develop:

New trial for year-round, high-tech strawberry cultivation

Grodan and Fluence have partnered for a trial on year-round high-tech strawberry cultivation using stone wool growing media and LED technology. In this demonstration trial, the strawberries' growth, yield, and quality will be evaluated.

Optimizing high-tech strawberry cultivation will have significant implications for both growers and consumers. Grodan and Fluence have combined their expertise to explore the possibilities for indoor strawberry cultivation. The opportunities for indoor year-round cultivation are significant, and both companies are looking to bring the benefits of year-round, fresh, high-quality strawberries to the growers and consumers.

"We are excited to partner with Fluence in this ground-breaking initiative. By leveraging our combined strengths in horticulture, we aim to uncover new methods that empower growers to grow high-quality strawberries more efficiently and sustainably," said Thomas Peters, Business Development Manager at Grodan. "We are working on optimizing our irrigation management advice and creating structured user advice that will help growers to have a stable and continuous high-quality production."

The trial started in August, and the researchers from Wageningen University & Research will focus on the effect of EC management on the growth, yield, and quality of the everbearer cultivar Favori. The partnership seeks to provide data-driven insights using the GroSens sensors of Grodan that will redefine the way strawberries are irrigated. The plants used in this trial are fresh tips propagated in stone wool growing media at EC 2, 3, and 4 mS/cm indoors on an ebb flood system with targeted irrigation. The grow-out trial will determine the effect of young plant quality on final yield.

"Working on a new and disruptive way of growing everbearing strawberries under LED lighting in collaboration with the leading substrate supplier in horticulture is a great opportunity for us," said Leo Lansbergen, a member of the Fluence Horticulture Service Team in EMEA. "Using LED lighting is a perfect energy-saving solution for year-round crops and fits very well with a greenhouse strawberry crop in stone wool. Fluence has gathered years of knowledge and experience in strawberry research, and we are excited to leverage those learnings in this trial."

During the grow-out trial, various agronomic treatments will be investigated, including lighting, irrigation, and climate management strategies. The results will give insights into the optimum cultivation conditions and yield. A number of events are planned to take place during 2023 and 2024 with the aim of transferring this knowledge to growers and stakeholders in the industry.

Fluence and Grodan will post ongoing updates on this trial on their respective social media channels and corporate websites.

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