Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Computers keep asparagus plants vital

25.04.2008
Asparagus plants that retain sufficient sugars in their roots after harvesting survive the harvest better and are more productive in the next season.

By contrast, when asparagus plants are cut too long, the sugar level is depleted and the quality declines. Wageningen UR researchers are working on a computer programme to advise asparagus growers on the best possible moment to stop harvesting.

Starting asparagus harvesting as early as possible is one thing, but it is quite another to reliably stop harvesting at the most opportune moment.

Asparagus are basically stems that are still under the soil, without any leaves above. This is why growing asparagus stems costs the plant such an enormous amount of energy. Plants have to store that energy in their roots during the previous year, which is why growers cannot just continue harvesting the stems. Cutting too long means that there will be insufficient energy left in the roots to obtain enough stems above the ground. These stems grow needles (the leaves) that the asparagus plant uses to create sugars, which are then stored in the roots to be used during the next season.

The traditional saying that asparagus should not be cut after 24 June, Saint John’s Day, no longer applies. Growers are able to start harvesting much earlier in the year than was previously the case. This is made possible, for example, by using the residual heat of an energy unit to heat the soil. What has not changed, however, is the need to stop cutting at the right time. Farmers aim to stop at the optimal moment: not too late and not too soon.

The sugar level of the roots is therefore a key factor in the vitality of these plants. Unfortunately, the sugar level as an absolute value is an insufficient indicator of when to stop cutting. The main indicator is the reduction in sugar levels, which is why Wageningen UR is partnering with the Geisenheim Research Station in Germany to develop a computer programme that will assist Dutch asparagus growers in determining the precise moment to stop cutting. The growers regularly measure the sugar level of the roots with a simple device, which does not take much time. Based on the results, the computer programme gives advice on when to stop cutting asparagus.

The computer programme is called Aspire and will be tested on ten Dutch asparagus farms during the 2008 season. The researchers expect that this pilot will offer a sufficient basis for widespread use in the 2009 season.

Jac Niessen | alfa
Further information:
http://www.wur.nl

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Fighting a destructive crop disease with mathematics
21.06.2017 | University of Cambridge

nachricht Unusual soybean coloration sheds a light on gene silencing
20.06.2017 | University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>