What do a swimming pool and an irrigation system have in common? It sounds like a riddle, but at Melspring International B.V. they know what to do. The company began selling fertilizers to farmers in 1936. In 1958, people with swimming pools asked if they had anything to clean their water. One thing led to another, and first through wastewater and process water treatment, Melspring has been active in horticulture for 12 years now.
Patrick van Scheijndel is responsible for Melspring's entire horticulture in the Benelux. As Product Advisor, he has many years of experience in glasshouse horticulture, which he now uses for Melspring.
Patrick explains what Melspring exactly does: "We are active in water treatment solutions: the water reservoirs, the irrigation system, and also the fertilizer tanks. For example, Melspring Mineral is used in the fertilizer tanks to better dissolve the fertilizers that are added to the tanks. Ballast remains at the bottom of the tank and Mineral dissolves this so that the nutrients reach the plant more easily. In addition, you have continuous cleaning, and Mineral will also dissolve the inorganic pollution, giving you clean and clear fertilizer tanks.”
Good water quality is important to get enough nutrients to the plant. The challenge is to fight pollution in the water system in order to prevent reduced water flow. And, in case of pollution in the system, many nutrients are left behind, these do not reach the plant. That's not what you want. Patrick: "Another advantage is that increasing water quality will also reduce the use of plant protection products. That is important, especially now that the government is allowing fewer agents.”
Since the company acquired the products and services of Ciro VOF, they have been well represented by distributors in the Netherlands and Belgium: Vlamings, Benfried, Telermaat, Bestebreurtje, Hesco, and, more recently, Alliance Group. An impressive list of names that distribute Melspring products.
Patrick notices that more and more growers see the importance of ensuring good water treatment and therefore good water quality. Patrick: "Although with some growers it's not that high on their list of priorities. And it should be. Cleaning drip systems, pipes and irrigation systems, and thorough cleansing contribute to healthy plants and crop growth. Watering systems and water quality are crucial, essential for good production. The various products for drip water treatment, sprinkling and cleaning for greenhouse horticulture contribute to this.”
Because there are growers who still have room to grow, guidance is even more important for Melspring than the products that the company supplies. Patrick: "We guide growers through the entire watercourse of their business and advise on where to improve. We provide advice and guidance on the to be used dripping/sprinkling system, the preparation for crop rotation, the use of the various cleaning agents, and the to be used water fertigation strategy. And in the end, it's all about checking what you supply. Before we start our services, we always do a baseline measurement by sampling the water quality.”
After two to three months, we come back to re-take samples and we will see that, after the use of our products, the bacterial count has decreased. For most growers, the irrigation system will be clean within 12 weeks, only in cases of heavy pollution can it take a little longer. During the process, they monitor the situation by performing measurements.
When asked about the current developments in horticulture, Patrick states that it is made increasingly difficult for growers to properly cultivate. There are a lot of options. And the effects are not immediately noticeable with all agents. Patrick: "We're happy to help them with that."
Of course, the specialists of Melspring are always working on new developments. For example, they have been working with Remondis for decades, a world-renowned, large waste treatment company, which, among other things, produces water treatment products and has recently set up a factory for recycled phosphoric acid. In other words, sustainable production with a low carbon footprint.
Phosphoric acid is still mainly used in water treatment to prevent tarnish, but in the case of Melspring, they are also trying to market it in the horticulture market as liquid fertilizer. It is an excellent material, which can be produced without natural primary raw materials. This means you don't have to import scarce phosphates from faraway places like Canada or Morocco, which is good for sustainability.
Back to the "riddle" from the beginning of this article. One of the products that Melspring has had in its Pool Care range for a long time is Calhypo. "That's usually a cleaning agent for pools," Patrick says. “We are now applying for an authorization to use the product to clean water reservoirs for growers. For example, in tree nurseries, we see very high pH levels. Using Calhypo, those values could be decreased and water quality could be improved."
As said, Melspring has different specialties in the field of water treatment: the treatment of home water, swimming pools, drinking water, and wastewater. All these specializations under one roof ensure that there is a cross-pollination of knowledge in which products that are already known to another department can also be used in (glasshouse) horticulture. For example, Calypho, (bio)-flocculants and anti-scalents. Melspring works with breeders to sort out their entire water system, by providing solutions both for drip water and irrigation systems and for wastewater treatment. Patrick: "It's with these kinds of projects that we really add value. The industry is going to hear from us."
For more information:
Melspring International B.V.
Patrick van Scheijndel, Technical Product Specialist Water Treatment
Mobile: +31 (0)646180325