ILVO Newsletter November 2019

In the starting blocks

‘DjustConnect’ is launched: this data-sharing platform for the agri-food chain – has remarkable characteristics.

EU - EFROAfter more than a year of intensive preparation, ILVO, together with AVEVE, Boerenbond, CRV, DGZ and Milcobel, launches a unique sharing platform to share data advanced in the Flemish agri-food chain. The platform is called DjustConnect, a name that alludes to performance and efficiency. The most ingenious aspect is the control functions built into architecture and management for the farmer. The farmer, as owner of the data, decides whether, and with whom, it can be shared.
DjustConnect is the “highway” where you can exchange data in a smooth, regulated way. The sector now has one central, fundamental tool to develop more reliable and smarter applications. "Such apps have benefits like administrative simplification, management support or technical advice. Easier data sharing benefits the farmers themselves as well as companies throughout the chain," says the founding agricultural cooperatives.

Farmer clears field: paved farms becomes productive land

Farmer clears field“Farmer clears field” (“Boer ruimt veld”) is a new project about removing concrete and hard surfaces from farms and rural areas. The need for a well-thought-out and well-supported concrete removl plan is growing, with the goal of strengthening and protecting the open farmland. This is why ILVO, together with Boerenbond, KU Leuven en Voorland kansen, is studying the obstacles and needs for concrete removal and we identify workable solutions for how farmers can again let their farmland breathe.

Fourteen doctoral studies about stress in laying hens: Europe has ambitious plans for combination of better productivity and improved animal welfare

laying hens16 European research centers, including ILVO, will launch a large-scale study over the next 4 years to identify the fundamental and more practical causes and consequences of stress among laying hens in all their stages of life. The starting point is the EU ban on laying batteries in 2012, which partially missed its goal of increasing animal welfare. We are aiming to find innovative production systems that are both financially feasible as well as optimal for animal welfare.

Protecting tomato roots from damaging bacteria

fruit basketResearchers from ILVO, VIB and UGent have joined to look for immune proteins in the roots of tomato plants. Ultimately, the aim is to arm the plants against the bacterium Ralstonia solanacearum, which is the cause of wilting and dehydration.

Animal welfare challenges for pigs and chickens in organic and free-range systems

animal welfarePPILOW is a European research project that aims to improve animal welfare in pigs and poultry that are raised in organic onditions and free-range systems. The 23 project partners will work together on innovative solutions and tools. These are developed, tested, validated and publicized.

Striking results

A computer model for long-horned beetles?

computer model for long-horned beetlesDevelopment of a decision-making tool for controlling outbreaks of Asian species that feed on deciduous plants
For the control strategy for the Asian long-horned beetles Anoplophora glabripennis and Anoplophora chinensis, government and sector can now rely on a scenario-based decision tool. A computer model shows how these pests can best be avoided/combated and the associated costs.

Boar taint in meat products: promising alternative production processes

meat productsMarinating and smoking can mask bear taint in processed meat products of entire male pigs. That is the important initial results from the project REDBOAR. Within this project researchers seek a strategy for valorizing boar-tainted carcasses, which is a prerequisite for keeping intact boars as alternative for non-anesthetized castration of piglets – in a profitable way.

In the spotlight

Mental stress in farmers (male and female) is serious. (Looking for) help can be better

mental stress in farmersFollowing the World Day for Mental Health (10 October 2019), ILVO draws attention to the first interim results from its research into the well-being of the Flemish farmers (men and women). Most striking is that farmers usually don't look for help when they develop deep long-term stress symptoms. Women's organization KVLV wants to break the taboos and put this theme high on the agenda. 'Through our operation, we are really going to help build resilience and teaching people to ask for help,' says national president Nik Van Gool.

Joris Relaes is the new chairperson of the agricultural research platform Agrolink Flanders. “The focus will now be on increased collaboration.”

Agrolink FlandersJoris Relaes, Administrator-General of ILVO, has been appointed as Chair of Agrolink Flanders. He succeeds Nadine Buys, former dean of the Faculty of Bio-Engineering of KU Leuven. Anne-Rose Gustin becomes the new coordinator and is responsible for the day-to-day operation.
Agrolink Flanders is a unique collaboration between 16 Flemish knowledge institutions with a wide range of competencies in fundamental and applied research in primary agricultural and horticultural production. New chair Joris Relaes: "More than before, Agrolink Flanders will focus on the search for synergy between members and on collaboration with the government, industry and end user."

Less peat in substrates for strawberries and tomatoes thanks to compost, wood fibers, biochar and chitin

strawberry plantILVO and the partners of the European Horti-BlueC project are doing pioneering work with their running practical testing of sustainable growing substrates. They have developed mixes with biochar and/or chitin and are researching the effects on growth and health of strawberry and tomato, as well as the interaction with fertigation.

Cans are here to stay. Research on canning in metal packaging as a sustainable form of processing.

cansEuropean researchers are rooting for cans as packaging, which some people feel to be outdated. Cans appear not only to be valuable in their current form, there are even new shapes of cans that are being developed for more energy-efficient processing and better quality of the canned contents. The research is taking place within the European InProVe project, which focuses on healthy food with a limited environmental impact and a minimum of food waste.

DISARM shoots out of starting blocks the launch of its website, Facebook discussion group and video.

disarmFirst stakeholder event takes place on 3 December in Brussels.
After a few months of preparation, the DISARM project team is ready to shoot out of the starting blocks. There is now a Facebook discussion group, video and a website with a newsletter coupled to it. The first European DISARM stakeholder event will take place in Brussels on 3 December. The program and a registration form will soon be online.
Laura Palczynski, head of the communication team for the DISARM project: "DISARM aims for successful strategies and innovations to improve animal health in European livestock farming and to reduce the widespread use of antibiotics. That is why the involvement of the various actors is so important and why we are strongly committed to communication and events."


SalFar Saline Farming
This video provides an explanation of 4 salinization processes which we deal with in the SalFar project, which is funded by the Interreg North Sea Region Programme.