Dutch strawberry grower Van den Elzen Plants, together with Water authority Aa and Maas, municipality Meierijstad and the province, will be researching which way strawberry cultivation fits the area best, with regard to soil and water. This cooperation agreement was signed on Friday, December 9, at municipality Meierijstad by chairman (dijkgraaf) Mario Jacobs, mayor Kees van Rooij of municipality Meierijstad, deputy Agriculture and Food Mz. Elies Lemkes-Straver and grower Arnoud van Asseldonk of Van den Elzen Plants.
The strawberry grower, in collaboration with the aforementioned authorities, placed a test setup of 1.8 hectares for growing strawberry plants. In the upcoming years, this will be used for research regarding how a transfer from temporary tray fields to fixed fields can take place within established laws and regulations.
The test setup is part of a broader collaboration on the search for the best way to cultivate strawberries. The locations of ditches and brooks in the area of strawberry growers are also being considered, for example. Moreover, regional possibilities are being considered regarding climate goals, water conservation, and prevention of discharge into surface water.
Strawberry growers place emergency tray fields to meet the great demand. "It can be considered quite unique that we collaborate with the sector from the very start and together look for ways to make strawberry cultivation grow responsibly," says director Peter van Dijk on behalf of the water authority. "We bring knowledge of the sector, the region, and legislation together. This way, we hope to move towards a positive future prospect for both the strawberry growers and the environment in which they operate."
From open soil to tray fields
Dutch strawberry growers are rapidly transferring from breeding on the soil to trail fields. The sector is expected to have fully converted to tray fields in a couple of years. This is already happening in surrounding countries. In England, cultivation on open soil no longer takes place. Within the Benelux, only 20% of cultivation still happens on open soil. Germany is expected to be fully transferred to tray fields within the upcoming five years.
Source: Water authority Aa and Maas