Diffuse coating fits well with Next Generation Growing
"Next Generation Growing starts with optimum cultivation," says crop consultant Peter Geelen of Plantmonitoring.nl. That means optimum utilisation of light. A diffuse coating is an excellent means for achieving that.
“For the grower, Next Generation Growing (NGG) centres on quality and yield. An extra bonus is that it saves energy. In the past NGG meant investing in new technology but now virtually anyone can start without making any investment by paying attention to insulation, smarter use of screens and activating the plant in a different way,” he says. Also, Next Generation Growing has developed from being focused on technology and energy savings towards the plants and its processes.
A diffuse coating fits perfectly with optimum cultivation. “It allows light to penetrate deeper into the crop for maximum light utilisation. The leaves at the top get somewhat less, but often they are already at the point of light saturation. The leaves at the bottom get more so that they not only assimilate more but also produce extra new chlorophyll, so they function even better,” he explains. “Also, by using diffuse light you prevent water stress at the top of the plant. The stomata remain open longer so CO2 can enter longer.”
Due to a uniform light distribution you avoid a rise in the plant temperature in the light spots in the greenhouse due to water stress. The temperature of the plant remains on average lower which reduces the need for ventilation. The resulting higher level of humidity ensures that the stomata remain open longer. Less ventilation means less loss of CO2 and therefore more is available for the crop.
Fly wheel effect
“Less ventilation fits perfectly within the Next Generation Growing picture,” says Geelen. “In this way you get a flywheel effect. During the day more assimilates are produced. You can achieve a higher 24-hour temperature and therefore a higher night temperature as well. That provides the opportunity to close the shade curtain at night: that is very important because you prevent the top from cooling too fast through radiation. In that way you maintain the transpiration at the top and thus the transportation of calcium. In addition, sugars are transported better when the top is warmer as this transportation is temperature dependent. Both calcium and sugar are essential for the formation of strong cells. This eventually leads to a good quality leaf and fruit. Due to the different night time regime you achieve better growth and, as a bonus, save energy.”
In this way optimum light utilisation during the day, due to the diffuse coating, and an optimum night-time climate go hand in hand. “With a significant bonus: energy savings. Diffuse light makes it possible to go a step further, especially when there is a lot of light.”
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