Researchers at Delphy achieved continuous production of 15 kilograms of energy per square meter in a strawberry impact test.
The lighting test was carried out in the greenhouse department of the Delphy Soft Fruit Innovation Center in Horst, Limburg, between late September and early July. Strawberry aging offers the opportunity to extend production time under glass, Delphy writes in response to the test results.
With the traditional method of growing strawberries with lighting, work is carried out with chilled June supports. But this means that several plantings are required each year, and the production structure is not very uniform. The concept with fresh June berries was based on a single planting for almost year-round cultivation with the goal of a stable production structure and higher yields per square meter.
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The idea behind the project has already been tested in fundamental research at the Plant Lighting Research Institute in Bannick, Utrecht. The principle is based on working with a variable spectrum of LEDs throughout the day, so that the plant is illuminated during a long day but experiences a short day. This is interesting for crops that are controlled based on day length, Delphi says. Therefore, June carriers were chosen for strawberries because they create new flowers under short day conditions.
According to Delphi, the concept is not yet ready to be put into practice. During the 2021-2022 trials at the Delphy Soft Fruit Innovation Center, the first steps were taken towards developing a concept that could be put into practice. A real growing strategy requires a specific way of climate control and lighting. Delphi emphasizes that it is important to think conceptually because growing conditions are constantly changing during the growing process.
With low-cold varieties – these are strawberry varieties with a low need for cold – during the test, it was possible to collect 15 kilograms of good quality strawberries per square meter. Delphi notes that there are opportunities for consistent harvesting with year-round outdoor cultivation. The consulting and research organization estimates yield potential of 17.5-20 kilograms per square meter with limited energy input.