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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 654: International Workshop on Models for Plant Growth and Control of Product Quality in Horticultural Production

DEVELOPING PROTOCOLS FOR NURSERY BASED SCHEDULING TRIALS

Authors:   H. Johnson, T.D. Harwood, M.R. Emmett, A.T.A. Crowther
Keywords:   perennials, image analysis, photoperiod, vernalisation, tracking.
Abstract:
Most existing crop scheduling models are cultivar specific and are developed using academic resources. As such they rarely meet the particular needs of a grower. A series of protocols have been created to generate effective schedules for a changing product range using data generated on site at a commercial nursery. A screening programme has been developed to help determine a cultivar’s photoperiod sensitivity and vernalisation requirement. Experimental conditions were obtained using a cold store facility set to 5ºC and photoperiod cloches. Eight and 16 hour photoperiod treatments were achieved at low cost by growing plants in cloches of opaque plastic with a motorised rolling screen. Natural light conditions were extended where necessary using a high pressure sodium lamp. Batches of plants were grown according to different schedules based on these treatments. The screening programme found Coreopsis grandiflora ‘Flying Saucers’ to be a long day plant. Data to form the basis of graphical tracks was taken using variations on commercial schedules. The work provides a nursery based approach to the continuous improvement of crop scheduling practises.
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