ReduFuse and growing tomatoes
Theo van Noord and Johan Vroedsteijn, producers of cocktail tomatoes “Vigorous production needs ReduFuse”
Dutch tomato grower T.W. van Noord makes every effort to have an energy efficient and vigorous crop. The nursery has been working with a new growing strategy for two years and is saving at least 10 per cent on natural gas. “For this strategy to work ReduFuse is essential in the summer,” say Theo van Noord and Johan Vroedsteijn. “Thanks to the diffuse light, the crop remains strong throughout the entire summer.”
“We want to harvest a good product right up to Christmas. To achieve this the crop has to flourish right through the summer and that’s possible when we use ReduFuse,” says Theo van Noord, owner of the modern Dutch tomato nursery in South Holland. The nursery has 14 hectares of cocktail tomatoes spread over three locations. Assimilation lighting is installed in one of the three greenhouses.
Van Noord: “Energy is a major expense and therefore we are constantly looking at ways to save energy in our existing greenhouses. Together with our crop consultant we developed a new cultivation strategy. We now have two years experience and I can say this strategy works for our type of cocktail tomatoes. It’s unlikely to work for larger tomatoes.”
Hardly any gas in the summer
The aim of T.W. van Noord is to start the summer with a strong generative crop and thereafter maintain a steady cultivation strategy until September. Crop manager, Johan Vroedsteijn, says, “From the moment we start in January we do everything we can to get the crop in balance. We begin with relatively large plants and we grow them at a fast pace during the first few weeks. By the end of April we have a strong crop with lots of fruit. We apply ReduFuse to the greenhouse roof at the beginning of May. The crop is very ‘sharp’ with a very high crop load. From week 25 until the end of week 35 we use a minimal amount of both energy and CO2 in the greenhouse. This is combined with a lot of ventilation. In this way the crop comes through the summer very well and stays sufficiently generative. We can keep harvesting until the end of September without any problem.”
In 2012 this strategy was combined with ReduFuse and tested at the nursery in Tinte. Van Noord: “We treated the majority of the greenhouse with ReduFuse. We left a corner of 0.4 hectare untreated in order to make a comparison. Together with independent Dutch advisors, DLV Plant, and Mardenkro we measured temperature distribution, photosynthesis and the amount of available PAR-light in the crop in both areas of the greenhouse. This showed that plant temperature across the board was more even under the diffuse roof, leaves at the bottom of the crop assimilated more and light penetrated deeper into the crop. As a result we left extra leaves on the plants during the summer.”
Quality and evenness
They also recorded production per m2. The tomato harvest in the greenhouse with ReduFuse was 1 kg/m2 extra than in the untreated greenhouse. This increase in yield occurred mainly in the autumn. This result led to them treating the entire nursery with ReduFuse in 2013.
“We applied the coating relatively late, not until week 22, and in week 37 we removed it,” explains Vroedsteijn. “That is a relatively short period. Brioso is naturally a strong vegetative crop and during this period we invest primarily in quality and strength. We started watering half an hour later. We used hardly any heating and we dosed very little CO2. This doesn’t lead to the maximum number of fruits but we benefit from evenness and a strong setting. In addition, the crop is less susceptible to diseases. In September we had a great crop that continued to produce well right to the end.”
“This method of growing would not be possible without ReduFuse because the crop is too generative in the spring,” adds Van Noord. “I am very pleased with this product. I’m delighted that ReduFuse will be available as an improved formula this season so it will be easier to remove. Mardenkro thinks with growers which is very constructive. For the last two years we’ve invested in a new strategy and ReduFuse is an essential part of this.”