Product quality is key to repeat custom, brand recognition and meeting the requirements outlined by customers. The UK spring does its best to make this difficult to achieve with fluctuating temperatures and light levels stressing the crop and leading to first flights of key pest and the onset of disease issues.
We outline a few ways you can to better measure, manage and mitigate these effects through new technologies to improve your marketable yield.
How can technology assist with crop yield?
Technology presents solutions that can prevent and/or reduce the impact of sudden stress events. In addition to this, technologies such as LEDs from Signify lighting can help produce stronger more even growth. This will make the crop better placed to cope with and respond to stressful events.
The experts at Signify can work alongside you to understand the outcomes you desire to create a custom lighting plan with specific spectra tailored to the plant needs. Ensuring that a plant receives the optimum amount and quality of light will ensure energy from the light dependant reaction of photosynthesis is readily available for internal processes such as responding to stresses. This is the most fundamental building block of an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programme, setting a firm foundation through a healthy plant.
How does irrigation increase crop yield?
Another key component to achieving health plants is water. Water is used in several ways from donating electrons through photolysis to transporting nutrients through a plant via transpiration. However, water can also be a considerable expense in a growing operation if not properly managed.
Ridder water management systems are easy-to-operate watering systems that scale from initial irrigation requirements to large-scale fertigation units and environmentally friendly water purification and recirculation systems. The level of control that these systems give a grower over-irrigation leads to better quality and yield. This is achieved as water is better managed ensuring the crop is not sitting wet, which can lead to issues with damping off diseases or coming under drought stress which can affect the plants performance in a number of ways ultimately making it more susceptible to pest and disease.
What are the components of an IPM programme?
Growing a healthy plant is the foundation of any IPM programme but, how do we measure how a plant is performing internally? We regularly measure external forces like environmental conditions or inputs such as fertilisers, but not internal metrics such as sap-flow and stem diameter. Both of these metrics can give a profound insight into the impact of external influences and how the plant is responding to them.
Technologies such as the 2Grow sensors Phytostem and Phytoclip allow growers a window into the physiological process of the plant. Working with growers 2Grow have seen this influence decision making across a myriad of areas from irrigation timing, to pre-symptomatic disease and pest detection. These systems improve the quality and health of a plant, this stand to cut costs across the IPM pyramid as properly managed, monitoring and treated plants are less likely to develop future issues with pests and diseases.
What are growers' options for creating the optimum growing environment?
Understanding internal metrics could be game-changing in ensuring plants are responding healthy to stimulus but, measuring external influences will still be key to managing them to benefit the plant. Environmental factors can be better understood through the use of remote sensing. Placing sensors in the canopy of the crop gives a more valid data set from which to make decisions. The temperature and humidity difference from inside the canopy to the outside and across the geography of a growing environment can be large. This will often lead to certain areas of a crop developing issues of hot spots of pest and disease, uneven growth and suboptimal plant health. 30MHz smart sensors are an excellent solution for growers of all size offering a modular platform that can capture a range of significant horticultural metrics.
Once the environment is being measured it can then be managed. The best way to manage an environment is to invest in a high-quality growing setup. CambridgeHOK can design and build specific growing environments of any size to meet the needs of a specific situation. Once these high-quality systems are built or retrofitted to an existing glasshouse there is far greater control of external influences to ensure they are optimal to promote healthy growth and prevent pest and disease.
It is important when collecting data on internal metrics and external influences that the data is centralised. This allows it to be compared. For example, comparing light, temperature and humidity data against the stem diameter and also records for crops develop metrics such as height/width will give far more useful information than looking at each data set alone.
30MHz through the ZENSIE platform offers a place where all data sets can be compared to increase the information and actionable insights ensuring that your crop remains healthy and productive improving your marketable yield.
Find out more
For more information on any of the products mentioned above please contact Ant Surrage on 01903258157 or via email at email@example.com. Alternatively, please contact your Area Sales Manager.