Dutch symposium on cultivation systems highlights innovations

The symposium Teeltsystemen (‘Growing systems’), held on 26 November at the Tuinbouwrelatiedagen Venray, presented some interesting innovations in cultivation systems. The event included technology-oriented innovations and agro-ecologically-oriented innovations such as sustainable land management.

Emissions and supply in horticulture
Challenges in the market and society demand near-constant adjustments in cropping systems in horticulture throughout Europe. These mainly involve reducing emissions of nutrients and chemical crop protection, but also concern climate change and biodiversity. In the market it’s mostly about supply assurance, as in the continuous and reliable supply of good quality. These and other issues prompted Wageningen UR and Vollegrondsgroente.net to organize a symposium on the need for renewed cultivation systems.

"Teelt de grond uit”
One session gave an overview of the "Teelt de grond uit” project for leafy vegetables, leeks, summer flowers and seedlings by John Verhoeven (Wageningen UR), Robert Sandee (innovative grower), Henk van Reuler (Wageningen UR) and Matthijs Blind (Proeftuin Zwaagdijk). Peter Does (Nunhems) presented a summary of international developments regarding production of leafy vegetables in water. Finally, Willem van Eldik (DLV) gave an overview of developments in strawberry production from open ground to greenhouse cultivation on racks.

Soil, fertilizer and resilience
Another session focused on soil, fertilization and resilience. Sjoerd Smits (Hortinova) indicated that with good soil, fertilization with nitrogen can be reduced significantly. Wim Peeters (organic grower) presented his method. A major bottleneck effect is still the availability of nitrogen. With leguminous green manures and fertilizers that can be increased, said Annelies Beeckman (Inagro B), but sometimes there still remains a shortage. Koen Willekens (ILVO B) proved that compost contributes to soil quality. Wijnand Sukkel (Wageningen UR) stated that there are various possibilities to increase the resilience of systems in which spraying can be reduced and / or revenues can be increased.

Ecology of the cropping system

In the plenary part of the symposium, Janjo de Haan (Wageningen UR) stressed that technological innovations should also pay attention to the ecology of the cropping system to make it more resilient and robust. Alternatively, agro-ecological innovations need technology for an efficient implementation.

Source: WageningenUR

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