Start of night-time trial in tomato at PCH

At the end of March 2020 the new trial of the UV-ROBOT project was started at Research Centre Hoogstraten (Belgium). The duration of the trial is 6 month, until the end of august. This trial is based on different dosage, given at night. Because of the preventive strategy of UV-C, the powdery mildew will be inoculated one week after start of UV-C treatments. Each plant of the trial will be inoculated with an infected leaf. Scoring system based on white mycelium spots on the leaves indicates the presence of mildew. Each week the trial will be monitored with these scoring system to have a good indication of the infestation rate of powdery mildew in each object. Beside night-time treatments, also day-time treatments will be monitored. With this night-time and day-time objects in the same trial we have an idea of the added value of night-time UV-C. At night we will use doses of 30 J/m², 60 J/m² and 120 J/m², our day-time dose is 120 J/m². At this moment, a day-time dose of 120 gives a significant reduction of the mycelium growth on the leaves. With the night-time dosage we hope to reduce the UV-C dose, without decrease the efficacy of the UV-C.
Because of the limited dark period in summer, the speed of the vehicle will define the amount of hectares you can treat. To increase the speed we look at the effect of splitting the dose of 120 J/m² in 60 J/m² going up the row, and 60 J/m² going down at night time. The final research question of these trial is the effect of de frequency of treatments. With the common strategy of UV-C, we will treat 3 times/week. With the last day-time object of 5 times/week we want to see the effect on the efficacy of UV-C, also the effect on plant level will be important to prevent fruit damage.

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