"While a screen was usually seen as a way to bring down your energy bill, it is now more and more used as a tool for better plant growth", says Ton Habraken of Ludvig Svensson. It's a development that fits Plant Empowerment, the new way of growing that's largely promoted with both a book and a platform.
In Plant Empowerment - or Growing by Plant Empowerment (GPE) - everything is focused on plant balances. The circumstances in a greenhouse should be such, that the plant experiences no limitations - read: stress.
By constantly monitoring the plant balances and acting on that, the plant can function stress-free and use light, water, nutrients and CO2 efficiently. In the book 'Plant Empowerment - the basic principles' by Peter Geelen, Jan Voogt and Peter van Weel, who were also at the foundation of the first handbook on Next Generation Growing, this concept is fully explored.
"The book is valuable for all protected cultivation and written in a very accessible manner, with lots of illustrations and practical examples. A must read for growers and crop advisers around the world", says Ton Habraken, climate consultant at Svensson.
Screen as climate tool
The screen has become a climate tool. "With a climate screen you can directly influence the assimilate balance, energy balance and water balance, the three plant balances. The prevention of radiation is a very important part of the plant's energy balance.
"Good screens also ensure a more homogeneous climate in the greenhouse by eliminating wind influences. This is proven in practice too. Where ten years ago in bell pepper cultivation it was common to have a closed screen 1,800 hours per year, right now 3,000 to 3,500 hours with the deployment of multiple climate screens, like an energy screen and a sun screen, is very common. This doesn't negatively affect the production, on the contrary!"