The Van der Knaap innovation centre ‘de Kas’ in Honselersdijk (NL) houses their extensive R&D department with test greenhouses where various growing conditions can be simulated. In addition to extensive trials to test and optimise existing products and develop new products, trials are also carried out here on behalf of third parties (customers, growers).
When a trial is set up in practice, i.e. at a nursery on-site, it runs alongside normal production. In this situation, it is usually not possible to adjust the cultivation strategy accordingly. This is where ‘de Kas’, Van der Knaap’s own test centre, offers a solution. Almost any desired cultivation situation can be set up in twelve separate test greenhouses and on an outdoor field.
In the test greenhouses, rooting and growth tests with substrate are carried out, but also studies into optimal fertilisation, irrigation, climate and lighting are possible. For this, the test greenhouses are equipped with the latest horticultural techniques. The tests are practice-oriented and are carried out in close collaboration with the customer. The test greenhouses are accessible to anyone interested after making an appointment. However, it is also possible to conduct closed trials.
Several cultivation techniques often come together in one trial. That is why they work together with suppliers of, for example: trays, climate control, crop protection and alternative cultivation methods, such as ponds for hydroponics. The test setups can be adapted to the desired cultivation methods in consultation with the customer.
Also in 'de Kas' is the laboratory where a complete chemical and physical analysis of the water and soil samples can be carried out. During a chemical analysis the EC and pH values of the sample are ascertained. In addition, the main and trace elements present in the substrate and/or (drain) water samples can be determined by means of spectrometric equipment (ICP and CFA). The available physical analysis provide insight into the air-water ratio, water absorption rate, water retention and structure for optimal rooting and growth. With a growth test it can be investigated whether a substrate contains any harmful substances that hinder proper growth and development.
All research data is collected in a database. The data is used for trend analysis, making possible improvements visible. The laboratory falls under ISO 9001:2015 certification and all analysis are carried out according to RHP guidelines.
For more information:
Van der Knaap