The new Exact Air mat, which was introduced in Western Europe this summer, has already been used for some time by growers in Central and Eastern Europe and in the Balkans, where 250 hectares of these mats can now be found. To give Dutch growers an idea of how the mats are used and what the practical experiences are, five Prominent members and two employees of Plantenkwekerij Vreugdenhil were invited to go to South Poland. On Tuesday 17 June they paid a visit to the horticulture business of Tadeusz Mularski, which cultivates cucumbers and various tomato varieties. The business covers a total area of 46 hectares, divided over three sites. The Dutch growers visited the site near Bory Malinowskie, which comprises 22 hectares. Besides cucumbers and tomatoes, young plants are also grown here.
Positive experiencesGeneral manager Marcin Mularski gave the Dutch delegation a guided tour of the greenhouse and gave an account of his experiences with the Exact Air rock wool mats by Cultilene. These mats were brought into use for tomato cultivation at two of the Mularski horticulture sites earlier this year. The business also uses OptimaXX mats (for cucumbers) and EXXellent (in older greenhouses).
The Exact Air mats are unique, primarily because of the good root development through the entire mat and the minimal variations in EC, pH and oxygen. "We are positive. The mat lives up to its promise and the roots look good," says Mularski. "We therefore intend to use the Exact Air mats more extensively within our business in the coming year."
After visiting Mularski’s horticulture business the delegation moved on to the Cultilene factory in Gliwice, where the Dutch delegation was given a glimpse behind the scenes and an insight into the production process of the Cultilene rock wool mats. The visit to South Poland ended in Krakow, where the Prominent members were treated to Polish culinary specialities.
Homogenous root developmentThe Dutch delegation returned home with positive impressions. Two growers have now decided to start using Exact Air at their own business, and two others plan to conduct trials with the mats. One of these is Kwekerij Schenkeveld in Schipluiden. General manager Berry Baruch was one of the visitors to Poland. "I wanted to see how the Exact Air mat functions in an existing business, and the visit was also an ideal opportunity to become better acquainted with the people at Cultilene," explains Baruch. "The trip was definitely worthwhile. I saw and learned a great deal, and the Exact Air mats at the Polish business looked very promising, with vigorous and homogenous root development. For that reason we intend to set up a trial with Exact Air mats, both in a lit and an unlit greenhouse. If these results are positive we will roll out Exact Air further within our business."
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