Participants in the project ‘Low-energy Crop Planning for Poinsettia’ have received new planning software for achieving more efficient energy and space utilisation. The researchers will soon officially present this programme to the National Poinsettia Crop Committee.
Together with DLV-Plant and LEI, WUR Greenhouse Horticulture has for two years been working on an advisory system for Poinsettia cultivation. This system has been developed in the context of the programme ‘Greenhouse as Energy Source’, upon commission by the product Board for Horticulture and the Dutch Ministry of LNV (Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality) and is now ready.
The system provides a real time link of mathematical models for crop, greenhouse climate and energy requirement with monitoring data and registrations from the participating holdings. Participants are exchanging information via internet; this enables monitoring and comparison of different production lots on the participating holdings.
The project often showed quite large differences between holdings in cultivation duration, space utilisation and energy efficiency but also in the type of plant produced.
Varying the settings of the advisory system enables the grower to see beforehand whether a specific cultivation measure is advisable or not. Lowering the cultivation temperature, e.g., does not always lead to energy savings because cultivation takes longer. Energy use per day is indeed lower but benefits are often lost due to a larger number of heating days.
A cleverly planned widening scheme on the other hand was shown to result in high efficiency gains. A good prediction of the final date can prevent high heating levels to enable timely supply of a production lot.