- Understand the current practices and limitations to Narcissus production, both through reviews of the scientific literature and discussions with commercial growers. These will form the basis of the experiments conducted.
- Investigate the effects of varying treatments of bulbs before, during and after hot water treatment (HWT). It has been shown in the past that pre-warming bulbs before HWT reduces damage to developing leaves and flowers, but this needs to be replicated with more current commercial varieties. There are also concerns over how evenly bulbs are treated and dried in bulk quantities, which must be addressed.
- Build predictive models for bulb and flower yield in relation to factors such as planting depth, spacing and orientation; fertilisation levels and application type; temperature and meteorological effects; water availability and more. Comprehensive models will help develop optimum growing practices.
- Develop new, or modify existing, approaches to bulb planting, lifting and handling, as well as fertilisation and growing conditions. Precision techniques and machinery from similar industries will be trialled for their suitability to Narcissus bulbs, with interest paid to disease control, reliability of cropping or reduction of production costs, in accordance with the demands of industry.
- Quantify the real-world benefits of the novel approaches developed, first in experimental field trials, then on an industrial scale using real Narcissus farms.
- Produce best practice guidance for growers to apply to their own production methods, based upon the findings of the above trials.
supervisor dot email at warwick dot ac dot uk