Minimising fruit crop losses due to frost

News - 29 November 2019 - Webredactie

Bas van de Wiel (Professor Atmospheric Physics) wants to minimise the fruit crop losses due to frost. Yet surprisingly little is known about this phenomenon. Therefore Van de Wiel received a grant from the Dutch Research Council (NWO) to together with colleague Marie-Claire ten Veldhuis provide clarity on fruit frost.

His project is part of the programme Smart solutions for horti- and agriculture, which is aimed at research that provides new, smart solutions that lead to sustainable and circular agricultural systems, while, at the same time, securing a healthy livelihood for farmers and agriculture-related companies.

Clarity on Fruit Frost
Prof B.J.H. van de Wiel, TU Delft

Marie-Claire ten Veldhuis (environmental physics, faculty of Civil Engineering & Geosciences) Kofi Mkinwa &  Qinwen Fan  (faculteit EEMCS)

In the Netherlands major crop damage due to spring frosts is a regular occurrence in fruit culture. Yet suprisingly little is known about this phenomenon. “Sometimes the weather is already spring-like, when night frost unexpectedly hits in April”, van de Wiel explains. “Fruit growers can lose half their harvest this way. So it is important to be able to predict this better.” Current fruit protection measures lack a good basis in the exact sciences. This project aims to provide clarity with a unique approach. This approach combines field experiments with innovative measuring instruments, advanced simulation and specific physiological analysis of the response to frost. In addition we introduce new instruments that replace the traditional weather station with a completely autonomous, wireless network of smart temperature sensors. This will visualize a real time 3D image of the frost 'front' in order to allow the grower to directly take effective measures.

Read more about the research of Bas van de Wiek in Stories of Science: