The Dutch company Van Iperen was established in 1921. This manufacturer of fertilizer has a company history of more than 100 years. Gary He, the China director of greenhouse horticulture at Van Iperen, recently talked about developments in the Chinese fertilizer industry.
Multiple series of unique and comprehensive crop nutrition solutions
"Van Iperen just celebrated their 100th anniversary. We have provided countless growers with comprehensive plant nutrition solutions and products for more than a century. After we entered the Chinese market, we first focused on cash crops such as fruit and vegetables, and we now cover the main cash crops in the Chinese market, including vegetables from installation farms in the north such as tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and eggplants, as well as apples and pears, and also products from farms in the south such as oranges, bananas, and Hami melons. We have also begun to participate in markets for staple crops such as potatoes and rice. We now provide numerous Chinese farmers with the unique and comprehensive Van Iperen solution for plant nutrition."
When asked what makes Van Iperen products unique, Gary He replied, "Van Iperen has a rich, diverse product range including single-substance and compound products with high-, medium-, and low percentages of trace elements, as well as sea-weed fertilizer, amino-acid fertilizer, and their own innovative fertilizers. Van Iperen also supplies their own IPE® Technology for phosphate enrichment. The IPE® Technology-based products are extremely popular in the Chinese market, especially the "Dichisu" liquid fertilizer. This product helps protect the root system from damage done by saline soil, and encourages the taproot to burrow deep, while also stimulating the growth of capillary roots. In addition to benefits for the root system, this liquid fertilizer also improves the buffer capacity of soil solutions, stabilizes the soil Ph and EC, and raises the efficiency level of the fertilizer. Not only is the plant more resistant, but "Dichisu" fertilizer also improves soil composition and soil permeability. Another one of our products, called Wake Up, is based on a potassium carboxylate formula that is radically different from the mineral-based potassium products on the market. The potassium elements in Wake Up are extracted from plant material and therefore have a greater affinity with crops. Wake Up is more easily and quickly absorbed by plants than mineral potassium products. Wake Up helps fruit development and improves the sugar content of fruits. That is why Wake Up is so popular with growth specialists, whether they use soil-based or hydroponic growth methods."
IPE® phosphate enrichment technology
For a long time, most growers have applied fertilizer based on experience, instead of scientific experimentation, analysis, assessment, and calculation. They blindly apply fertilizer and are not aware if the volume is too much or not enough. Wasting fertilizer adds to the cost price. Excessive fertilizer also damages and pollutes groundwater and soil. The soil effectively suffers from 'gout'. Localized application of fertilizer can help reduce soil fixation, but this is not always sufficient. The Van Iperen phosphate technology IPE® releases phosphate absorbed to soil particles and prevents the fixation of freshly applied phosphate. The IPE liquid fertilizer combines IPE® technology with large amounts of trace elements in a liquid-based fertilizer. This product provides suitable nutrients during different stages of the growing process and for different soil types. The liquid fertilizer supplies a suitable concentration during different stages of the growing process to stimulate development of the root system, improves protection against saline soil, and creates a buffer against sudden changes in Ph.
Focus on technological services with attention for environmental protection
Gary He also talked about the development of green concepts and services at Van Iperen. The company has always valued the concept of 'high-tech plant nutrition solutions'. Research and development at the company always follow the question 'whether this helps improve the technological services'. Following these principles, the company developed comprehensive plant nutrition solutions for common crops such as various vegetables, grapes, oranges, and potatoes. At the same time, Van Iperen worked together with global research institutes to research and develop technology for the production of sustainable, soluble nitrate fertilizer. The company already released their Green Switch™ liquid nitrate fertilizer and was awarded the Dutch Green Tech 2021 price for the most innovative product. Green Switch® is the world's first process based on Pure Green Agriculture technology turning manure into organically derived Nitrate fertilizers for the high-tech greenhouse sector and open-field fertigation. The carbon footprint of the manufacturing process is negligible, which greatly reduces carbon emissions and nitrogen emissions. Energy usage in the production of this fertilizer is decreased by 90% or more. This fertilizer reduces environmental pollution and improves crop nutrition. Green Switch™ is Van Iperen's contribution to green industry and environmental protection.
"Our technological support teams often visit farms to talk with growers and observe the crop growing conditions. That is how they understand the needs and difficulties of growers. After specialized analysis, they develop a customized solution for the grower. We use WeChat to establish groups in which we can exchange information about technology so that we can quickly respond to questions our clients have. We can help our clients resolve thorny problems with fertilizer anytime, anywhere. We also produce live broadcasts to discuss problems that many of our clients face, and we have online lectures on the usage of our technologies. And we receive positive feedback and approval from our clients for these digital services. At the same time, we also rely on years of experience and data from Van Iperen in the Netherlands. We released a Chinese version of the Dutch fertilizer software Iperen Connect Greenhouse™ that is more suitable for the conditions in China. The software enables quick, accurate, and specialized solutions for the calculation and adjustment of fertilizer usage. The software allows clients to observe and adjust crop nutrition in their location, which helps them increase the efficiency of fertilizer, improve crop production volume and product quality, and reduce wasteful expenses or environmental pollution."
Van Iperen e-commerce platform
The most important concern for growers is to produce agricultural products with stable quality and sell them via stable sales channels. For Chinese growers, the sales channels are somewhat complicated and market conditions for various products regularly fluctuate. That also affects the sales conditions for growers. Van Iperen-China established an e-commerce platform called Western Mansion. This e-commerce platform will hopefully help bridge the distance between growers and retailers so that suppliers can quickly and conveniently deliver agricultural products to consumers. The platform also helps retailers find the products they are looking for.
Sustainable supply relies on stable storage costs and lower profit margins
The price of raw materials has been on the rise for some time now. Van Iperen has prepared for this scenario: first, they developed more detailed and accurate product supply plans that better connected the Van Iperen headquarters in the Netherlands with other locations. Product manufacturing is arranged in time and cargo space is reserved in advance. Second, there are several fertilizer storage facilities throughout the country. And every facility has a strict 'red line' for how much fertilizer is in reserve. The red line is an advance warning that prompts the manager to order additional supplies. In this way there is always enough fertilizer in reserve, and Van Iperen China can maintain a steady supply chain. Three, warehouses keep the price from rising, or at least from rising too much, by avoiding the pressure of large inventory. In addition, the products come in different sizes to make sure there is a suitable and convenient product for every client, whether they are large-scale plantation companies or individual farmers.
Promote the use of methods that fit local conditions
When asked about future developments in the Chinese fertilizer industry, Gary He replied that Chinese agricultural companies will pay more attention in the future to environmental protection and ecological plantation. They are also interested in technologies for agricultural IoT and integration of supply chain processes. Moreover, Chinese agricultural companies hope to safely produce large volumes of high-quality agricultural products with the help of science-based fertilizers. Growers will use fertilizer on a level that is completely new, accurate, and efficient, with attention for the specific requirements of diverse crops and with guidance for growers in the scientific principles that underlie the use of fertilizer. These are the urgent issues that fertilizer companies in China consider. The largest trend in the Chinese fertilizer market is the combination of high-quality, efficient products + specialized and reliable technological guidance.
At the same time, changes in plantation methods will also affect developments in the fertilizer industry. In the Netherlands, hydroponic crop cultivation rapidly developed in the last few years. This development was fueled by growers in high-tech glass greenhouses, high-quality fresh-cut flower plantations, and berry plantations. Hydroponic cultivation often makes use of coconut fiber substrate, which helps growers avoid traditional problems of soil-based crop production. Hydroponics is based on strict control over the environment and liquid fertilizer irrigation for high-yield crop production. Van Iperen built on their success in the Dutch hydroponic industry to develop localized solutions for the Chinese agricultural industry, as the fertilizer software Iperen Connect Greenhouse™ has shown. Van Iperen produces suitable and scientifically accurate solutions for different crops at different stages of the growing process. And the company has developed a wide range of products including Wake Up, which supports the hydroponic cultivation of tomatoes and berries in China; Optifos, which solves the build up of inorganic salts in long-term irrigation channels and thus removes obstacles for the free and accurate flow of water along the irrigation channels. And Van Iperen China will launch even more effective products in the future to meet the demands of growers who wish to produce high-quality agricultural crops.