ILVO Newsletter June 2018

From breeding of roses to reducing antibiotic use in pigs, from sustainable growing substrates to innovative spraying technology, from combined seaweed farming to monitoring dairy cattle. ILVO researchers give the best of themselves in all facets of agriculture, fisheries and nutrition, and they want to show that to you. You are cordially invited to take a look behind the scenes of ILVO research during the Agriculture Day on September 16, 2018.

Hot off the press

New rose genome provides insight into diversity and important flower and bloom characteristics

Old BlushAnother important step has been taken in the genetic research of the rose. Barely a month after a first team of researchers unraveled the genome of the rose and could link genes to odor and color variation, a second team of scientists managed to do the same for thorn density and important flower and bloom characteristics.

Why farmers come together and strive for a sustainable initiative, and how they successfully gain added value

agricultureYou learn more from a network if you are intrinsically motivated - but we already knew that. Now we know that this also applies to sustainability in the agriculture sector, says Laure Triste (ILVO-Ghent University) in her doctoral thesis. If at the same time you can promote autonomy, competence and true interconnectedness, you have a great chance of success. In the studied successful cases we observe a balance between business-oriented and group activities, and flexibility and organic growth. Therefore it is preferable not to impose a plan or copy the behavior of an initiative that did well elsewhere. The sociological and pedagogical theories that Triste examined in the context of farmers groups were proven correct in practice. These success factors can form a guideline for the design of new initiatives, both public and private.

Veterinary advice has proven its economic added value for farms and animal-based measuring systems

veterinary adviceThe economic added value of an animal-based measuring system can be increased by taking the economic value into account during the technical development phase. Veterinary advice can also have a positive influence. This type of animal health model where farmers pay for coaching is still difficult in Flanders. This is the conclusion of Cristina Rojo-Gimeno (ILVO-Ghent University) in her PhD on the role of data and advice.

Ready, set, go!

Innovative spraying techniques for crop protection products. Network “INNOSETA” launched.

InnosetaTo make innovative spraying techniques visible to farmers and make the needs of the farmers visible to product developers: those are the goals of the recently-launched INNOSETA project. The project will work via an online database, surveys, local workshops and international events.

Strawberries on a bed of shrimp. Upgrading of residual streams from agriculture and horticulture, agri-food production, and fisheries.

Horti-BlueCMaking growing media more sustainable for strawberry and tomato in greenhouses, that is the goal of the Interreg 2 Seas project Horti-BlueC. Products based on residual streams from agriculture, agri-food production, and fishery activities are used for this purpose, such as compost, plant fibers, biochar and chitin.

A new cultivation system for organic field-grown vegetables

surevegThe SUREVEG partners are looking for new, diversified and intensive cultivation systems for organic field-grown vegetables. These are being developed taking into account more biodiversity and more efficient use of resources. The focus is on row crop cultivation and on the use of vegetable residual streams as soil improvers and as fertilizers.


  • ILVO press release June 12, 2018: First test with Flemish seaweed features interesting tastes and textures
    The Flemish “sugar kelp” (Saccharina latissima), a local species of seaweed, seems different from sugar kelp grown in other regions and seas. That is the observation from a culinary test made with the very first harvest of trial-grown seaweed plants from the research project Value@Sea. "The texture is firmer than what we pick at our pilot seaweed farm in Norway. There, the textile cultivation mats where the seaweed grows on are located in sheltered fjords. I am not surprised that exactly the same varieties in the Belgian part of the North Sea produce a more robust end product," says Bert Groenendaal of the textile group Sioen Industries, one of the Value@Sea partners.
  • ILVO press release June 2, 2018: Two thousand recreational fishermen account for 1% of the total catch
    Last year, around 2000 recreational fishermen landed 213 tons of fishery products from the Belgian part of the North Sea. This represents only 1% of the total commercial and recreational supply. Combined, the sector represents direct expenditures of 5 million euros.
  • Bio-engineers from Ghent develop biological control of fruit flies
    Researchers from Ghent University and ILVO have developed a biological method to combat fruit flies that live on fresh fruit. This new method is harmless for other organisms: a first!