Plant Breeding and Soil

Plants are bred to influence the behaviour of agricultural and horticultural crops under diverse breeding and soil conditions. ILVO studies cultivation techniques in grassland, feed, energy crops, growing plants for seed (conventional and organic), sustainable soil management and the interaction between agriculture and environment/nature. This research also includes a critical scrutiny of the use of GMOs.

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Cultivation and Harvesting Techniques

ILVO's cultivation and harvesting techniquesILVO researches new developments in the production of roughage (grass, clover, corn, Leguminosae), nutritional and industrial crops (leek, chicory, flax) and energy crops (corn, Miscanthus, willow, poplars). Which soil conditions, fertilization and disease management strategies are best? What kind of advice or potential new scenarios are to be expected from the authorities? ILVO’s researchers study the combination of good agricultural production with a minimal environmental impact (air, soil, water and coexistence).

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Cultivar Research

Cultivar researchAn optimal cultivar selection influences the profitability of a crop. Cultivars need to be adapted to climate, soil characteristics and farm management. Cultivar research assesses the value of cultivation and use of a potential new cultivar. This is based on the major agricultural traits, quality and guaranteed yield. After being tested for three years in different agricultural surroundings, a cultivar can be admitted for listing in the Belgian Cultivar Catalogue.

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Soil, Fertilization and Compost

CompostStudying Flemish soil quality is all about optimal crop development, proper use of nutrients and sufficient carbon storage. This research evaluates (new) ways of soil preparation and tillage. The use of farm compost, with or without additional fertilization, is being studied in relationship to the needs of both crop and soil.

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Organic Crops

Organic breeding of potatoesILVO researches possible ways to close the nutrient circle and to stimulate natural mechanisms of plant nutrition and protection. This amounts to proper soil management, optimal follow-up of the crops, disease-resistant cultivars and an organic management of diseases and plagues.

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GMOs

GMOGenetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are organisms in which one gene or a limited amount of genes have been altered via gene technology. ILVO uses this technology to study traits in plants, but also conducts research into the development, detection and characterization of authorized and unauthorized GMOs in feed and food. The cultivation of GMOs in Europe is tied to coexistence regulations (legislation about the cultivation of non-GMO and GMO crops next to each other). ILVO supports policy makers in making coexistence regulations and testing their feasibility in practice.

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