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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Wooster, Ohio » Application Technology Research » Research » Research Project #436649

Research Project: Optimizing Crop Production while Reducing Energy Use through Improved Lighting and Greenhouse Control Systems

Location: Application Technology Research

Project Number: 5082-21000-001-028-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Aug 1, 2020
End Date: Jul 31, 2024

This project will research optimizing crop production while reducing energy use through improved lighting and greenhouse control systems. It will focus on improving growth and flowering during the liner (vegetatively propagated cutting) stage of floriculture crops. The two main objectives include: 1. Examine the response of three species of bedding plants to cumulative daily light integral applied during the liner production stage. 2. Determine the effect of far-red radiation applied to three species of bedding plants during the liner production stage on flower initiation, plant quality, and morphology.

Three species of vegetatively propagated bedding plants (which currently have issues with long production cycles due to delayed flower initiation) will be chosen in collaboration with commercial floriculture propagators. In experiment one, liners of the three bedding plant species will be exposed to one of four daily light integral (DLI) treatments (e.g., 5, 10, 15, and 20 mol·m-2·d-1) once they reach the callus (initial rooting) stage. The number of days to reach acceptable transplanting size (and cumulative DLI) will be recorded. For a subset of the plants, data will be recorded on shoot and root fresh weight/dry weight, height, branch number, and flower bud number. A second subset of plants will be transplanted and grown in a common finishing environment. Days until flowering and growth data will be collected when plants reach commercial finishing size. In experiment two, the cuttings will receive a moderate daily light integral (10 mol·m-2·d-1), which will either be amended or not amended with far-red radiation applied at 20 µmol·m-2·s-1. Similar to experiment one, growth and flowering data will be assessed on rooted liners when they complete the liner production stage as well as on transplanted liners when they reach finishing size after being grown on in a common environment. In both experiments, daily and cumulative energy costs will be calculated and assessed relative to time to flower, growth, and morphology data for both liner and finishing stages of production.