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WET Centre

Crop research / agronomy


General description

The WET Centre was set up in 2017 to demonstrate ‘best practice’ in precision irrigation and explore innovation in environmental control and precision fertigation. It is currently funded by industry partners who provide the latest technology in soilless substrates, data loggers and data capture, irrigation technology, and environmental control. The Centre demonstrates how commercial growers can safely reduce their water use whilst maintaining or improving yield and quality. It has further evolved to demonstrate ‘best practice’ in environmental control and precision fertigation, helping the industry to maximise yield and profitability with improved resource use efficiency and sustainability.

Technical description

The WET Centre is currently set up with a strawberry area incorporating eight commercial-scale polytunnels covering a total of 0.34 ha, and a raspberry area incorporating four commercial-scale polytunnels covering an area of 0.14 ha. The strawberry crop is grown in bags of coir substrate (Cocogreen) erected on table-top structures with six rows per tunnel, while the raspberry crop is grown in pots of coir substrate, sitting on steel gutters at ground level. Both areas are fitted with precision irrigation employing high performance sensors, data loggers (Delta T) and automated irrigation to ensure optimal coir moisture availability. The Centre also employs a ‘Netajet Octa nutrigation rig (Netafim), polytunnel rainwater harvesting and re-use, and automated polytunnels/environmental control.

Use: Trial space (e.g. glasshouse compartment)

Location: West Malling, Kent, ME19 6BJ