Innovative cucumber growers and companies from North Limburg and East Brabant are the driving forces behind an extensive practice-oriented research program, in which the optimal light recipe is developed for high-wire cucumber cultivation.
This will make a valuable contribution to the year-round availability of Dutch cucumbers and make the market less dependent on imports from Southern Europe.
The research focuses on the optimization issue on LED lighting. The goal is to arrive at an optimized lighting recipe for high wire cucumber cultivation in which the energy efficiency of the crop is analyzed in relation to the varieties used. In this, an attempt is made to uncover the correlation between technology and genetics. The trial will run from October 2021 to March 2022, with processing of the results lasting from April to May 2022.
The need for more knowledge comes from regional cucumber growers from SVTGV's catchment area who have joined forces for this initiative. Thom van Mullekom, representative of the grower cluster: "Joining forces, knowledge, its valorization and a broad dissemination of achieved results will lead to better energy efficiency in cultivation. With an optimized light recipe it should be possible to achieve higher productions with the same energy input, compared to current lighting techniques. The higher production will reduce CO2 emissions and energy costs per unit of product. In addition, this lighting recipe will create more opportunities to maintain current production levels, with lower energy costs through the efficient use of LED lighting and associated varieties and genetics."
The research program will be conducted by the agrofood R&D organization Botany. Maarten Vliex, project leader: "The practical trial takes place during the low light period of the year, from October to March. It not only looks at the light spectrum and the intensity of the lighting, but also at genetics, water management and the cultivation and climate control." Innovation agency Bluehub will share the results obtained with the sector through an open knowledge platform. The platform is primarily aimed at maximizing the chances of valorization, adoption and acceptance of new technologies by forward-thinking cucumber growers. For both Botany, Bluehub and the grower cluster, this research program is a continuation of the Belgian-Dutch research program GLITCH, which was successfully completed earlier this year.