Science Into Practice - Overcoming high failure rate in column stock

With dependable, fragrant and attractive long-lasting flowers in a range of colours, column stocks (Matthiola incana) can be grown under glass and polythene to produce flowers over a long season. In the UK, according to current industry estimates, more than 12 million stems are produced annually. In recent years sales have increased and they are now regarded as a standard item and carried by most supermarkets.

However, UK growers have experienced an unacceptably high proportion of plant failures - rates of up to 20-25 per cent were reported during 2010. With the high costs associated with growing stocks (including soil sterilisation), it is estimated that at least 95 per cent of plugs need to produce a marketable flower to make the crop profitable.

PO 005 aims to determine the cause of recent increased incidences of plant variability and decline in glasshouse crops. The project will investigate and assess the extent of crop failure, independently record and analyse key agronomic factors associated with production, identify key factors to investigate via replicated trials to provide practical solutions to the problems and communicate findings to the industry and, where appropriate, make recommendations for further action or study.

DATES FOR YOUR DIARY

HDC Protected Edibles Panel Meeting, University of Worcester, 8 June

For technical matters, call 0247 647 8668. For communications, call 0247 647 8664.

HDC Protected Ornamentals Panel Meeting, Kent, 9 June

For technical matters, call 0247 647 8882. For communications, call 01732 897474.

Horticultural Development Company

For details on all HDC activity, visit www.hdc.org.uk


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