Irrigation management of tomato – Part 3.

Irrigation management of tomato

Our aim is to follow through a whole crop year and try to reveal the possible irrigation mistakes in each phenophase. We try to help determine the actual irrigation strategy and the vegetative vs generative effects of the past mistakes.

The data below are to be used in case of standard tomato cultures with suitable technological background, in compliance with the required technological discipline.

GROWING PERIOD – PHASE 3: Week 9-13

Stability in water capacity and fast reaction in the 24-hour average temperature.

Purpose

Our aim is to keep the suitable balance until the first harvests. This has a major influence on the success of the summertime yield. The load on the plants is continuously increasing until the first harvest, but the irrigation, and thus the photoassimilation is varying, strongly, depending on the weather.

Task crop

Growth has to be constant and uniform until the plant load is increasing.

We might have to change the 24-hour temperature each day in accordance with the available photoassimilates.

This can be done by changing the afternoon and night-time temperatures depending on the radiation sum.

It is especially important that we should not keep high temperature in the afternoon when it is cloudy, as doing so wastes away a considerable amount of energy from the plants.

Incidental lower average temperatures mean less total heat for the first and second clusters, so they will ripe slower. The priority is to maintain an equal plant thickness, a strong, generative picture of the plant.

Task rootzone

Following the rooting, we just need to make sure to keep stability in the parameters of the slab.

My opinion is that in this period irrigation should follow transpiration as much as possible.

Frequent laboratory tests are suggested until the first harvests, until we reach a stable plant load.

We need to keep in mind that the start of ripening may cause fast changes in the PH.

 

In the screen shot we can see an example for the realization of following the transpiration, as mentioned in Task rootzone. We can clearly see that the right irrigation strategy follows the afternoon decrease in transpiration. By this, we can avoide over-irrigation in the afternoon, which would lead to energy-wasting processes.

Data from the chart above can be used based on the conditions set in the first part, in case of planting in low irradiation conditions.

Irrigation management of tomato – Part 2.

Irrigation management of tomato

In the second part of our series, we start with the critical periods of the rooting, and our aim is to draw the specialists’ attention to the tasks waiting for us until the 8th week.

GROWING PERIOD – PHASE 2: 3rd-8th weeks

Rooting and determining the standard values of the substrate.

Purpose

Continuous and uniformly controlled plant development, and the realization of a root system filling the entire substrate volume.

We can say that this phase of growing demands the most attention, as it determines the whole success of crop production. The mistakes made in the couple of weeks ahead are almost impossible to correct later.

Trutina is the best possible tool for providing feedback on our work already done through the evaluation of biomass data and the precise tracking of the irrigation.

Task crop

Our task is to create the most active climate so that the biggest possible absorbtion surface (leaf surface) could use up as much of the energy of the incoming light as possible, and also to maintain the vegetative-generative balance in the plants.

With the use of the Trutina, it is possible to follow the energy balance of your plants, which helps you prevent your plants from going into energy deficit.

As plants use a great deal of energy for building a strong root system, it is advisable to burn a little less energy in the second half of the day during this period – because the high afternoon temperature and low irradiation rob energy from the plants, -, so we need to avoide late irrigation phases. It is also recommended to provide energy surplus for the night, so that there would always be a sufficient amount of sugar for the building of the root system.

Let’s not be afraid of plants with a little more purplish colour as usual, because this indicates that they accumulate more energy reserves.

It is advisable to avoide using heating pipes close to the plants during the period of rooting.

Task rootzone

Our aim is that the root system of the plants fill in the whole substrate, by which the plants will be able to absorbe the amount of water and nutrients necessary to reach maximum summer yield and best possible quality.

We can increase the root system by gradually decreasing the water content of the substrate. Ideally this decrease is in the same pace day-by-day, meaning about 2.0-2.5% decrease in water content reaching the minimum value in 10-15 days, depending on substrate type. Then, we increase the water content of the substrate gradually for 7-10 days, until it reaches the suggested value of the standard substrate type.

The Trutina is an ideal tool for this task, which needs special attention, as the system shows us all the information in a way that they can be evaluated easily, which makes it possible to create and check our strategy. See screenshot:

The screenshot (shown below) represents an example for the realization of task rootzone. It is clearly visible that the correctly implemented rooting strategy does not cause any confusion in biomass production. It can also be seen clearly, that we can direct the decrease and increase of the weight of the substrate, even with the daily differences in irradiation values.

Our aim is to follow through a whole crop year and try to reveal the possible irrigation mistakes in each phenophase. We try to help determine the actual irrigation strategy and the vegetative vs generative effects of the past mistakes.

The data above can be used in case of standard tomato cultures with suitable technological background, in compliance with the required technological discipline.

Data from the chart above can be used based on the conditions set in the first part, in case of planting in low irradiation conditions.

 

Irrigation management of tomato – Part 1.

Irrigation management of tomato

Our Trutina system is a perfect tool to get better real-time control on crop performance.

In the coming season, we will publish valid examples which shows how to control irrigation strategy in order to get close to the genetical maximum.

Our aim is to follow through a whole crop year and try to reveal the possible irrigation mistakes in each phenophase. We try to help determine the actual irrigation strategy and the vegetative vs generative effects of the past mistakes.

Now we start from the beginning of the crop. The data below are to be used in case of standard tomato cultures with suitable technological background, in compliance with the required technological discipline. Data from the chart above can be used based on the conditions set in the first part, in case of planting in low irradiation conditions.

GROWING PERIOD – PHASE 1: until the second cluster or 50th-2nd weeks

Purpose

The plants are still in rockwool cubes, but taking them apart helps in their generative management. We must try to create uniformity, to correct the incidental differences in plant size by placing the smaller plants to the sunnier side of the twin rows. Dripper pins are to be sticked at the same depth and position in case of every rockwool cube, making sure that the pins do not reach the slab. Rockwool cubesmust be placed with the drain channels on their bottom showing the same direction.

Attention! Special attention should be paid to the condition of the dripper pins in the first couple of days due to the homogeneous irrigation. It is safer to use a bigger dose of water when older dripping systems are used.

Task crop

The plants have arrived from the nursery. Taking them apart causes stress in the young plants. They become weary due to the micro-climatic changes and the injury of their leaves, which may last for a couple of days, so we need to try to prevent them from any additional stress effects.

After 2-3 days the plants will regenerate, and we can start their management. We need to support the plants so that they can develop the biggest possible leaf area, to maximize the photosynthetic leaf area, with strong generative management, in order to reach suitable flower formation.

Task rootzone

Our task is to help the plants grow a lateral root system with as many roots as possible when the roots are still in the rockwool cube. The more root apexes are at the contact surface of the rockwool cube and the slab, the better the start will be when placing th eplants on the slab. It is very important that we should not let the plants dry out so much that their root end would not burn and dry out.

In normal cases climatic stress and high EC value are sufficient to get high quality fowers and to produce pollen. We need to avoide the early afternoon darkening of the plants because of its high risk on the root system.

It is advisable to water the plants in the rockwool cubes with air temperature irrigation water. Great emphasis must be placed on the use of purified or rain water to reach the best possible nutrient intake. Nighttime irrigation is most probably needed in the week before the plants are placed on the slab.

Irrigation management of tomato – Part 1.

Our Trutina system is a perfect tool to get better real-time control on crop performance.

In the coming season, we will publish valid examples which shows how to control irrigation strategy in order to get close to the genetical maximum.

Our aim is to follow through a whole crop year and try to reveal the possible irrigation mistakes in each phenophase. We try to help determine the actual irrigation strategy and the vegetative vs generative effects of the past mistakes.

Now we start from the beginning of the crop. The data below are to be used in case of standard tomato cultures with suitable technological background, in compliance with the required technological discipline. Data from the chart above can be used based on the conditions set in the first part, in case of planting in low irradiation conditions.

GROWING PERIOD – PHASE 1: until the second cluster or 50th-2nd weeks

Purpose

The plants are still in rockwool cubes, but taking them apart helps in their generative management. We must try to create uniformity, to correct the incidental differences in plant size by placing the smaller plants to the sunnier side of the twin rows. Dripper pins are to be sticked at the same depth and position in case of every rockwool cube, making sure that the pins do not reach the slab. Rockwool cubesmust be placed with the drain channels on their bottom showing the same direction.

Attention! Special attention should be paid to the condition of the dripper pins in the first couple of days due to the homogeneous irrigation. It is safer to use a bigger dose of water when older dripping systems are used.

Task crop

The plants have arrived from the nursery. Taking them apart causes stress in the young plants. They become weary due to the micro-climatic changes and the injury of their leaves, which may last for a couple of days, so we need to try to prevent them from any additional stress effects.

After 2-3 days the plants will regenerate, and we can start their management. We need to support the plants so that they can develop the biggest possible leaf area, to maximize the photosynthetic leaf area, with strong generative management, in order to reach suitable flower formation.

Task rootzone

Our task is to help the plants grow a lateral root system with as many roots as possible when the roots are still in the rockwool cube. The more root apexes are at the contact surface of the rockwool cube and the slab, the better the start will be when placing th eplants on the slab. It is very important that we should not let the plants dry out so much that their root end would not burn and dry out.

In normal cases climatic stress and high EC value are sufficient to get high quality fowers and to produce pollen. We need to avoide the early afternoon darkening of the plants because of its high risk on the root system.

It is advisable to water the plants in the rockwool cubes with air temperature irrigation water. Great emphasis must be placed on the use of purified or rain water to reach the best possible nutrient intake. Nighttime irrigation is most probably needed in the week before the plants are placed on the slab.

Trutina system learning center – Part 2.

Trutina System learning center

We, as Gremon Systems Zrt., are fully committed to support our clients so that they could use the Trutina system the most effective and most productive way. In our last post, we shared basic information about Trutina system’s dashboard. Today we are continuing that article because we do believe that the Trutina system offers unique opportunities in the world by the direct monitoring of the plants. These opportunities must be integrated into the daily routine plant management activities.

Irrigation and Transpiration

Choosing the right irrigation strategy is a continuous challenge for growers. Certain elements of the irrigation strategy are often reprioritized due to the ever-changing nature of various aspects and circumstances. Let’s divide the 24 hours into different periods to examine some cases.

When should the first irrigation of the day be scheduled?

Every grower has their own concept about how it is best to determine this time. For example, should the percentage difference from the last irrigation of the previous day be considered, or the weight loss calculated from the time of sunrise, or both? Or, should we set a fix starting time for 1, 2, 3 or 4 hours after the actual sunrise (but here again, for 1 or 4 hours), or should we compensate it with irradiation? E.g. 100W, or 200W? 100J or 200J?

You must have heard some good reasoning from experts for these aspects and values, as well as for their various and convoluted variations that seemed logical in the given circumstances, which can be rather confusing.

The Trutina can calculate and show the transpiration, that is, the rate of water absorption of the plants.

Having analysed a great number of daily watering, we have concluded that the water uptake of plants is not affected by irrigation cycles other than those during the active periods. Therefore, a night or early morning irrigation cycle has no directly measurable impact on the water uptake. For this reason, it is unnecessary to start irrigation before the plants’ natural activity began. It is much more beneficial if the plants are provided with the suitable climatic environment that enables them to activate without any disruption.

This graph shows an irrigation strategy in accord with transpiration. Based on the graph, it is sufficient to start the first irrigation at the time when the weigh-loss of the slab reaches 2-3% calculated from sunrise. This strategy results in measurable transpiration data. In case the weight-loss of the slab is over 2-3%, when irrigation is started later compared to the above, we can often experience plant weight (biomass) loss, which means that the plants evaporated more water in the given circumstances than they were able to absorb during the same period.

This graph shows a good example of plant weight loss in two consecutive days. It is clearly visible that the water content decreased 15,8% compared to the last irrigation period of the previous day, and 3,69% compared to sunrise, which proved to be too much. It is worth observing the immediate increase in plant weight (biomass) following the first irrigation cycle.

Based on our present knowledge and experience, normally the above situation is to be avoided. However, the application of such late start may be used in case of extreme vegetative crop to produce more generative clusters, without causing any future problems.

As the Trutina measures the plant weight with high accuracy in real time, it is worth monitoring its changes during the day. Plant weight loss or stagnation are likely the signs of inappropriate irrigation. Daytime weight loss is to be avoided, as it can cause blossom end rot. We can often experience plant weight loss during the exceptionally dry, hot afternoon hours. Daytime plant weight loss is also common in case of low irradiation and unreasonably high afternoon temperature.

The first irrigation cycle should be set to help the already active plant. We do not recommend unreasonably large doses of watering at the beginning of the day to reach the maximum daily water content as soon as possible, as it might be cloudy at 11 am. and we end up „standing there with water” up to our neck, having already compulsorily provided the first four doses of watering.

It is much more effective to increase the water content by following the transpiration curve with higher frequency but lower dose. This way the drain will appear in time, and this practice will also prevent us from over-irrigating our plants and wasting water.

If you need more information please contact us.

Trutina system learning center – Part 1.

Trutina System learning center

We at Gremon Systems, are fully committed to supporting our clients so that they can use the Trutina system the most effective and most productive way.

We do believe that the Trutina system offers unique opportunities to the world by the direct monitoring of the plants. These opportunities must be integrated into the daily routine plant management activities.

Summing up the experience of recent periods, we have come to the decision to deal with certain topics, by which we can make the use of the Trutina system more understandable to everyone.

First let’s start with the Dashboard information – this data visualization interface had been created to make the interpretation of data simpler. How can we recognize simply and quickly whether everything is all right with our plants or not?

Plant activity shows the amount of water evaporated by the plants in one m2 in the previous hour.

The trend of plant activity is worth examining. If the UP sign points upwards, we know that our plants have become more and more active lately, they have absorbed and evaporated more and more water. This shows us that the environmental conditions have been favourable.

In case this trend turns, and the sign points downwards, we need to examine the cause of the slowdown of the water uptake of the plants. This can be caused by too little lighthigh concentration of vapour or low temperature.

The water capacity difference number shows in percentage the water loss of the substrate due to the plants’ water uptake and the drain since the last irrigation was finished.

The number indicating the moisture content of the slab is also a user-friendly indicator, as being conscious of our irrigation strategy (vegetative versus generative), we can easily follow the actual state of the moisture content of the slab. If this is a larger number, it means that the slab is drier. Our opinion is that 18.42% is an extreme generative effect.

On the dashboard, there is information about the daily irrigation status as well. The irrigation-related activities since sunrise are easy to understand.

If we see that there has not been any irrigation after sunrise and it’s been a long time since then, we need to check the plant activity in any case, that is how much water has been evaporated. If there has only been a small amount of evaporation, and at the same time, there is no significant difference from the last irrigation cycle of the previous day then we can wait a little longer in line with the vegetative-generative strategy.

The Trutina software offers different setting options to the users. You can set the timeframe you want to review. You can choose which data you wish to assess. The different views menu option provides support in making different decisions. With its rational use, it offers better understanding of the different correlations.

Weekly view: This example shows that during the given week (in the middle of March) it was difficult to determine the suitable irrigation strategy due to the changing weather conditions. The humidity of the slab was lower at the beginning of the week, then in the middle of the week, water capacity has been increased by a night-time irrigation and by several higher doses of irrigation cycles.

It can also be seen that on the days when the value of water capacity was more suitable, biomass production was also higher. It is also clear, that the lack of night-time irrigation, together with the fewer number of irrigation cycles resulted in the drying of the slab – 10% in two days -, which caused stress, and due to which the humidity of the slab has decreased to such extent that it was way under the level of easily absorbable water.

The two-day or shorter views also show the amount and frequency of the irrigations. In this specific case, the two consecutive irrigations helped achieve the desired effect.

Our research clearly shows that the amount of irrigation water and biomass production are closely and positively correlated. Therefore, it is advisable to determine the amount of irrigation water in such a way that the water capacity of the slab would not go under the value indicating the easily absorbable water, as this is what balanced biomass production means.

If you need more information please contact us.