Spain: Use of Koppert's NatuGro on the rise

At a conference in Cartegna, Koppert has presented reasearch results from the NatuGro system during the last three years to confirm how the beneficial microorganisms contribute to the root's health by facilitating the absorption of nutrients and improving soil structure and substrate. "Beneficial bacteria and fungi excrete substances that have effects against pathogens, therefore it is crucial to maintain the balance of microorganisms in the soil's food chain so that the root is never defenceless," stressed Mr. Jose Belda, director of Koppert's R&D Department in Spain during the conference in Cartegna. The tests, performed in the field and in an experimental greenhouse, prove that NatuGro reduces the number of plants affected by diseases transmitted by fungi and bacteria, while significantly increasing crop productivity in both soil and hydroponic substrates (perlite and coconut/coir fiber).

The NatuGro system, exclusive to Koppert, is based on the incorporation of beneficial microorganisms into the soil and the promotion of their development via specific nutrients. At the same time, actions to promote the increase of biodiversity in the root's environment are taken, and amino acids and bio-stimulants are provided to the plant in order to improve its metabolism.

Hydroponic substrates
In his speech, the head of Koppert's R&D stressed on the need to ensure the biological balance in disinfected soils and inert hydroponic substrates, as they are conducive means where pathogens have no natural enemies to control them, can thrive easily, and colonize the plant's roots. In this regard, as has been proven, one of NatuGro system's advantages is that it starts in the seedbed, when the root system is very fragile.

Another advantage of NatuGro is that it is based on a continuous technical support. The company continuously analyzes the soil to check that the beneficial fungi have correctly colonized the roots as well as to see the relative amounts of microorganisms, fungi, bacteria and protozoa in the substrate. "This follow up makes NatuGro a model of sustainable crop management, which also ensures the producer's profitability at all times since we can know if we administered the correct dose of beneficial microorganisms that the roots need," said the director of Koppert's R&D. He also introduced the concept of resilient crops to state that biological control is the only option for future intensive agriculture. "Resilient crops are those that can adapt to a changing environment and are able to acquire resistance against various threats and, at a time that chemical tools are increasingly limited, we can only get those abilities in our crops if we ensure that their roots are healthy and have a balanced development."

The excellent results obtained with NatuGro have led the farmers from Almeria to trust it. Currently there are more than 200 hectares using this personalized system, which offers solutions for the management of pests and diseases, that is based on that old saying: prevention is better than cure.


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