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Environmental optimisation and predictable production of protected edible crops - HH1329SPC

Commercial survival in horticulture increasingly depends on being able to schedule crops with precision to meet stringent retail demands for continuity of high quality product. However, tomato yields tend to fluctuate from week to week and growers lack the ability to be able to predict their yields with any degree of accuracy, or to manipulate their pattern of yield to a pre-determined schedule. MAFF funding is sought to address these issues, as information of this type is vital to sustain the profitability of the UK tomato industry. The focus of the research will be studies of the sensitivity to temperature which is now believed to be a key element determining fluctuations in yield. The information that is gained will be used to devise procedures to enable prediction of fruit yields and allow limited modulation of the time of fruit maturation and hence of the pattern of yield production.
1. To establish the feasibility of reducing night temperature set points following warm days so as to minimise the day-to-day variation in mean air temperature.
2. To quantify the degree to which it is possible to minimise weekly fluctuations in yield by manipulating the glasshouse environment and modifying the deleafing strategy.
3. To determine the sensitivity of fruits to temperature at different developmental stages, develop an improved system for predicting the time of fruit maturation and incorporate this into the current tomato model.
4. To validate the modified tomato model using data collected as part of objective 2, together with historic yield data and to assess how dependent the yield predictions will be on the accuracy of meteorological forecasts.
5. To use the model and understanding gained to attempt to manipulate glasshouse yields according to a pre-determined pattern.
Project Documents
• Final Report : Environmental optimisation and predictable production of protected edible crops   (1444k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2000

To: 2003

Cost: £381,746
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Horticulture Research International
Natural Resources and Labour              
Protected Cropping              
Fields of Study