1. What is a role of phytomonitoring technology in the process of plant growing?
2. How many plants are used for phytomonitoring?
3. How to learn the phytomonitoring interpretation technique?
4. How to purchase, install and maintain the phytomonitor?
5. What is expected benefit of using the phytomonitor?
6. Is there any difference between greenhouse and open field applications?
7. Are there any recommendations for using the phytomonitor in scientific researches?
8. Can the Standard Phytomonitor be supplemented with the photosynthesis monitoring unit?

1. What is a role of phytomonitoring technology in the process of plant growing?

Phytomonitoring is an information technology that provides a grower with invaluable information about dynamics of the crop physiological status. A picture below clearly represents a role and place of phytomonitoring in the process of plant growing. Thus, the phytomonitoring is one of the crop supervising tools, which is mostly touchy and quick for estimating a crop status trend. One may distinguish two may function of the phytomonitoring: 1) warning a grower in case of upcoming problems with the crop long before they become visible and irreversible and 2) examining crop treatments and control operations in respect of whether they improve or not the crop conditions.


2. How many plants are used for phytomonitoring?

The phytomonitoring interpretation technique is mainly based on the analysis of trends, which are much more representative for uniform crop than absolute crop characteristics. For example, instant temperature of several leaves may differ in a few degrees centigrade while the response to lower humidity will be uniform: elevating transpiration will reduce temperature of all leaves. Usually a phytomonitor set incorporates a single set of environmental sensors and double set of main plant related sensors. It means that only two plants may be used as driving ones at a uniform plot. By the way it gives a unique opportunity to test some new treatments or regimes only on driving plants at first, before application on a whole crop.


3. How to learn the phytomonitoring interpretation technique?

Every phytomonitor is supplied with application software tools, which automatically recognize many typical disorders in plants. Besides, a user may take advantage of the Reference Guide for more detailed information about phytomonitoring diagnostic technique. Any legal user may also become a member of the Phytomonitoring Club to have access to phytomonitoring data banks and having direct support of top experts and colleagues. In addition, any user may take a special training course organized by the PhyTech Ltd. and local dealers twice a year. Send a request for information about the next course at Error! Bookmark not defined..


4. How to purchase, install and maintain the phytomonitor?

Purchasing. Call your local authorized dealer. A list of Phytechs representatives is available. You may also call directly to the main office (Contact Us). You may also get free consultations regarding a delivery set which suits your crop. Installation. A Companys technician provides installation in most cases. For example, a routine installation session of the LPS-03MA Standard Phytomonitor includes the following steps: - running a 4-wire cable between the phytomonitor location and PC. It is recommended to do it yourself beforehand; - installing the phytomonitor (about 30 minutes); - installing software (about 15 minutes); - introductory instruction (45 minutes). Maintenance. There is only one concern of a user - to keep sensors properly positioned. Usually it requires the following: - to check positioning of 2-3 plant related sensors (LT-1,SF-4/5 and FI-3 if present) twice a week; - to check positioning of all other sensors once in a month. All these actions take not more than an hour per month.

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5. What is expected benefit of using the phytomonitor?

It is quite difficult to calculate correctly a benefit provided separately by an information tool, which gives a grower the management and time-critical information on his crop. Considering only a watchdog function of the phytomonitor one may suggest the following. It is known that crop yield may be only 22% of what it might be because of severe stress. Assuming that the phytomonitoring watchdog can save only 5% of yield, one may get approximately $17,000 per hectare for vegetable and cut-flower crops wher total gross income is estimated as $32-$37 per m2*, and up to $30,000 per hectare of pot-plants greenhouse where total gross income is about $60 per m2*. It is obvious that the phytomonitor also helps to improve climate control setting and optimize crop treatments so that the added value of the phytomonitoring application may cover initial investments during the first season. The phytomonitoring application is especially beneficial in warm areas where a grower has a routine task to combat plant stress and has to supervise climate and irrigation control with great care. ------------------------------ *Meijaard D.,1995.The greenhouse industry in the Netherlands. In: Greenhouse Climate Control: An Integrated Approach. Wageningen Pers. Wageningen. P.11


6. Is there any difference between greenhouse and open field applications?

Advantages of the phytomonitoring become more apparent in intensive cultivation technologies. Many of greenhouses are well-equipped growth facilities while irrigation is mostly only operable factor in the open. Nevertheless, there are some extremely promising phytomonitoring application in vineyards and orchards that have leaded to designing of special heavy-duty phytomonitoring stations equipped with solar power supplies and RF or cellular communication accessories.


7. Are there any recommendations for using the phytomonitor in scientific researches?

The LPS-03MA phytomonitor is a perfect tool for investigations in plant physiology and related sciences where the long-term evolution of plants and/or comparison of plant short- and long-term responses are the research objectives.
See articles Irrigation Using a "phytomonitoring" System


8. Can the Standard Phytomonitor be supplemented with the photosynthesis monitoring unit?

At the moment the PhyTech Ltd. produces PM-48 Photosynthesis Monitor, which was specially designed for long-term monitoring of the leaves CO2 exchange and it is fully compatible with up-to-date Standard Phytomonitor.