Heuvelink and Gonzalez-Real - Innovation in plant-greenhouse interactions and crop management

Ep Heuvelink1* e Maria M. Gonzalez-Real2**
1 Horticultural Supply Chains, Wageningen University, Marijkeweg 22, 6709 PG Wageningen (Olanda)
2 Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingeniería Agronómica, Universidad Politécnica de Cartagena, Paseo Alfonso XIII, 30203 Cartagena (Spagna)

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Key words: supplementary assimilation light; diffusing covers; photo-selective films; (semi-)closed greenhouse; source-sink ratio.

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Abstract

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(Semi)-closed greenhouses allow for better control of climate conditions compared to conventional greenhouses. To make the high investments for such greenhouses economically feasible, substantial yield increases are necessary. In north-Europe supplementary assimilation light in greenhouse horticulture is increasingly used to improve yield and product quality to meet market demands for year-round production and to obtain a more regular labor demand throughout the year. Using inter-lighting, instead of lights only on top of the crop, and Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) could increase substantially light and energy efficiency. As soon as LEDs will reach high enough efficiency and feasible price, they are expected to replace high pressure sodium lamps in greenhouse horticulture. Another important issue is the choice of the greenhouse cover which should be optimized from the crop point of view. A cover with high transmission of light, but low transmission of NIR, results in a better climate during the warm season (reduced temperatures, less crop transpiration, higher CO2-concentration possible because of reduced ventilation demand). Increasing the diffusive power of the cover material could result in a better distribution of the radiation over the crop canopy, therefore leading to substantial increase in absorbed radiation (up to 20% for highly diffusive covers) and improving radiation use efficiency and yield. Under these new conditions (high CO2 and high light levels) other genotypes than the present cultivars may be superior. However, the possible effect of breeding especially for these new conditions is still little investigated. Under improved crop management, maintaining leaf area index high enough and controlling source-sink balance is discussed. In conclusion, there are a lot of possibilities to further improve yield and quality of greenhouse produce and meanwhile reduce the input of fossil fuel energy.

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