Developing protocols for nursery based scheduling trials
Johnson, H., Harwood, T. D., Emmett, M. R. and Crowther, A. T. A. (2004) Developing protocols for nursery based scheduling trials. In: Fink, M. and Feller, C. (eds.) Proceedings of the International Workshop on Models for Plant Growth and Control of Product Quality in Horticultural Production. Acta Horticulturae. International Society Horticultural Science, Leuven 1, pp. 133-137. ISBN 9066050292
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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 5degreesC 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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