The application of precision agronomy to UK production of Narcissus


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. 

Benefits to industry:

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

Project code:
CP 103
01 October 2013 - 30 September 2016
AHDB Horticulture
AHDB sector cost:
Project leader:


CP 103_Report_Annual_2014 CP 103_Report_Final_2017 CP 103_GS_Final_2017 CP 103_Audit Questions Full CP 103_GS_Annual_2014

About this project

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.