The application of precision agronomy to UK production of Narcissus


CP 103 - The application of precision agronomy to UK production of Narcissus

Start Date: 
Completion Date: 
Project Leader: 
Rob Lillywhite, University of Warwick
CP 103

Industry representative: Mark Vandervleit

HDC project cost: £67,650


Project summary:

Existing planting practice within the UK bulb industry is based on a ridge system using existing, or modified, potato planters. This has the benefit of familiarity and ease but is crude in comparison to modern precision farming since bulb spacing is not well controlled and orientation is random. An alternative important approach is to plant in beds which is common in the Netherlands. This project will explore both systems within the context of precision farming and examine whether current UK approaches are agronomically and economically competitive.

The project will focus on two main areas. Firstly, precision planting in which bulb orientation, planting depth and bulb spacing are optimised for both ridge and bed systems. Secondly, precision fertilization in which the supply of nutrients to the crop is accurate, timely and optimal. 


Aims and objectives:

Project aim:

To improve crop yield, crop quality, crop uniformity and harvesting through advances in agronomy.

Project objectives:

  • Review and explore the limitations of existing planting and fertilizing systems on crop production;
  • To model optimum bulb planting and fertilisation;
  • Modify existing, or develop new, approaches to bulb planting and precision application of fertilisers
  • Undertake trials to assess the effectiveness of new approaches;
  • Develop best practice guidance and/or new technologies for the bulb and flower industry.


Benefits to industry:

The results from the project will be disseminated to a wider audience through demonstration days, a grower report and academic papers.