On-line Monitoring of Protected Crops and their Environment: Towards the Speaking Plant.
Keywords: Transpiration, Crop models, Sensors, Lysimeter.
The horticultural industry is rapidly changing from a producer to a consumer orientated industry. Changes include the need for more planned and sustainable production, which requires less input of fertilisers, energy and crop protecting agents. Setpoints for greenhouse controllers are at best obtained from experience, trial and error, or experiments. On-line interpretation and use of signals from plants and their environment (the ‘speaking plant’ approach), could directly or indirectly give feedback to controllers as a warning system for stressful conditions. Examples of monitoring in relation to both unwanted and beneficial stress conditions are given. Sensor requirements, spatial variability, data interpretation and the possible uses of sensors in control systems are considered.
The practical questions a grower faces with plant-monitoring equipment are addressed. For improving plant quality and yield prediction, a combination of plant monitoring and empirical or mechanistic crop growth and development models is promising. Examples are the graphical tracking and visual quality of pot plants, and yield prediction of tomato.
Rob Baas, Applied Plant Research, Business Unit Glasshouse Horticulture, Linnaeuslaan 2a, 1431 JV Aalsmeer, the Netherlands.
20 Pages, 8 Figures, 2 Tables, 24 References.