First crop trial Certhon Innovation Centre

Tomatoes

The previous studies Certhon carried out into the daylight-free cultivation system were almost all with tomatoes. The basic knowledge of this cultivation is therefore already existing, so the research at the Certhon Innovation Centre was focused on other subjects. In this first cultivation round in the new building, optimizing the cultivation system for an indoor farm was the main goal. The focus here was on standardizing and expanding the installation capacities, in order to find a good balance in crop production and quality, the construction costs and the energy consumption of the installation.

Cultivation information

Breed: Five different varieties have been used during this experiment. Three of these have been supplied by Rijk Zwaan: Brioso (45g cocktail tomato), Solarino (11g mini plum cherry tomato), RZ 72-008 (15g cherry tomato), one by Green4Health: Milenco 120 (11 g mini plum tomato) and one by Gautier Seeds: Piccolo (15g cherry tomato).

Propagation: All plants were propagated by Beekenkamp Plants. Grafted on a rootstock and topped to maintain two shoots.

Density: Starting density for all varieties was 5 stems/m².

Lighting: Red-white Philips LED Toplighting and HPS lighting were available in the room.

Cultivation time course:
Planting date: week 13
First harvest: week 18 & 19
End of cultivation: week 33

Results

The cultivation started on March 16th 2018. During the 22-week experiment, all the five tomato cultivars grown indoor showed a very high and stable productivity. On average, aproximately a 50% higher yield was achieved in this experiment compared to an unlighted Dutch greenhouse. This is mostly contributed to a stable climate, stable light levels and higher CO2 levels. During the whole cultivation, no pests and plagues have been discovered. No chemicals were used or necessary. This shows that a very clean cultivation without plague insects is possible. Condensation of water on the crops was avoided with the advanced climate control systems, so funghi were never able to germinate or become a problem. Pollunation was done with bumblebees, which worked out very well.

Specifically, weekly production and yield increase of the RZ 72-008 (supplied by Rijk Zwaan) can be found in the table below (Reference is an unlighted Dutch greenhouse year round production planted in December. Numbers provided by Rijk Zwaan).

Cultivar First harvest after sowing (days) Weekly production during research (kg/m2) Increase (Certhon research - greenhouse) (%)
RZ 72-008 49 1.25 92.1

If you’re interested in detailed infomation about the other tomato breeds, feel free to contact our agronomy specialists.

Brix (°) value in the different breeds during this experiment:

Cultivar Brix (°)
Solarino 9.8
Piccolo 9.9
RZ 72-008 9.4
Brioso 6.7

In the next experiment, interlighting will be applied and tested. It will be investigated if this can decrease energy consumption and improve production level en fruit quality.

Watch the cultivation of the tomatoes in the Certhon Innovation Centre