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.

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. With better climate control indoor, both productivity and quality can be improved indoor compared to cherry tomatoes grown in greenhouses. Averagely, around 50% higher yield can be achieved yearly, which is contributed to higher light intensity, higher CO2 concentration and higher light use efficiency. During the whole cultivation period, no pests and plagues have been discovered. No chemicals were used or necessary.

Specifically, weekly production during this first cultivation round 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). Brioso had the disadvantage of being grown against a room wall.

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

In this first cultivation round, also cocktail tomato cultivar Brioso, cherry tomato cultivars Solarino (both supplied by Rijk Zwaan) and Piccolo (supplied by Gautier Seeds) were used to investigate the feasibility of tomato production indoor with Certhon self-designed high-wire system. If you’re interested in detailed infomation about these breeds, feel free to contact our agronomy specialists.

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

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

For the next cultivation round, interlighting will be applied and tested in an indoor situation. It will be investigated if this can decrease energy consumption and improve fruit quantity and quality.

Cultivation information

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: Four channels of red-white Philips LED Toplighting and one channel of HPS lighting were placed in the room.

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

Watch the cultivation of the tomatoes in the Certhon Innovation Centre