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Demystifying yield fluctuations for greenhouse tomatoes
Date:4/15/2010

KAGAWA, JAPANGrowing tomatoes is not always easy. In many parts of the world summers are too hot to grow tomatoes in greenhouses, even those with intricate cooling systems. In cooler climates where tomatoes are grown year-round in production greenhouses, yield fluctuations are still challenging for producers who need to fulfill orders and predict labor costs. Finding accurate methods for predicting greenhouse tomato yields is at the forefront of growers' concerns.

A new research study may take the speculation out of yield predictions and offer help for tomato producers. Tadahisa Higashide, a scientist at Japan's National Agricultural and Food Research Organization, published the study in a recent issue of HortScience. The research indicated that fluctuations in fruit number and yield under greenhouse conditions could be predicted on the basis of fluctuations in solar radiation.

According to the Higashide, development of an accurate method to predict weekly fluctuation in tomato yield, especially during summer, is still a big challenge; tomato yields fluctuate almost simultaneously in many fields in an area, although growers, greenhouses, plant growth stages, and crop management differ. Yield fluctuations can cause prices to fluctuate, purchasers to look to competing suppliers, and inadequate distributions of laborcomplications that have an impact on revenues and consumer satisfaction. Accurate prediction of yield fluctuations would help growers revamp their marketing approaches (e.g., cooperative shipping with a grower in another area to fill supply gaps) or implement environmental controls in their greenhouses.

The study was designed to develop a method for predicting fluctuations in weekly tomato yield under high temperatures. Higashide investigated the relationships between environmental data and tomato yield and whether these relationships could be used to predict yield fluctuations. The experiments were conducted usin
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Contact: Michael W. Neff
mwneff@ashs.org
703-836-4606
American Society for Horticultural Science
Source:Eurekalert  

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Demystifying yield fluctuations for greenhouse tomatoes
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