ILVO Newsletter October 2019

In the starting blocks

Persistent compaction under arable fields and grasslands: a quest for viable and effective solutions
Problem plots sought for multi-year field trials

compactionCompaction of agricultural soils is not only an increasing but also a complex problem. ILVO, Inagro, Soil Service of Belgium (BDB) and Ghent University are going to investigate for the next 4 years how soil compaction can be remedied sustainably and which measures are economically and also practically feasible. The project partners focus on the two biggest challenges: first, deeper soil compaction under the topsoil (> 30 cm) where to date little or no effective and lasting solutions have been found; and second, the wide application of existing techniques to lower pressure on the soil that are not yet being applied because farmers do not know the real costs and benefits.

Rapid test for bacterial contamination in food

rapid test for bacterial contaminationA continuous, automated and efficient detection of bacterial contamination in food is the ambitious goal of the newly initiated Interreg project agrEUfood. The project partners optimize new biosensor technologies and make them industrially applicable.

Hip tubers with not-so-hip diseases? Phytosanitary risks for new tuber crops

yaconYacon, Ulluco, Bataat, Crosne, Mashua oca and Jerusalem artichoke are exotic or rediscovered edible tuber crops that are gaining popularity. But what diseases or pests do they carry? And can they spread to traditional commercial crops? Researchers from ILVO and PCG seek it out within Project PRONC.

Promoting precision farming through a safe and powerful computing environment

securityHow can high Performance Computing (HPC) and Big Data Analysis help agriculture and fishing move ahead? CYBELE ensures that several links in the chain can securely access large-scale datasets and that computing power is available to analyze and process these data.

How digestible are the cell walls of silage corn? A measurement method based on near infrared spectroscopy.

silage cornA quick and objective method to score the cell wall digestibility of grain maize of different varieties is the grail for researchers from ILVO and University College Ghent (HoGent). The intention is that an extra, very useful feed value parameter can be added to the list of varieties.

Striking results

Making chicory F1 hybrids more efficient: a stepping stone to higher inulin production

chicoryAn improved technique for the production of parent lines for so-called F1 hybrids of industrial chicory can contribute to chicory roots with an estimated 20% more inulin. This is the most striking result of the ILVO-UGent doctoral research conducted by Jeroen Van der Veken. The greatest success was in the preparatory work: making haploid plants (with halved DNA quantity; each chromosome is present only once) that serve as the starting material for the parent lines. Since the 1950s, ILVO has conducted an important breeding program in this niche agricultural crop, first focusing on coffee chicory but more recently on inulin production. The inulin that is extracted from the chicory roots is a commonly used basic ingredient for many food companies.

Oddballs in ornamental horticulture? Monitoring and control of the Taxus beetle Otiorhynchus sulcatus

taxus beetleThanks to inventory and monitoring of weevil damage in Flemish ornamental cultivation, there is now a warning system for the common black yew weevil. This contributes to a more efficient and sustainable control of this pest insect, but also suggests that due to climate warming, problems with weevils will continue to increase.

Feed strategies in the fight against climate change

feed strategiesOf all the global greenhouse gas emissions from livestock farming, 65% are derived from cattle farming. Methane, which is mainly formed by rumen fermentation, is the main greenhouse gas. Many greenhouse gases are also formed in the production of the feed for dairy cattle. In her PhD, Dorien Van Wesemael was looking for strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in dairy farming.

In the spotlight

SmartAgriHubs Innovation Portal brings the digitization of European agriculture to a rapid rise

Smart Agri HubsOn 17 September, the long-awaited innovation portal of SmartAgriHubs was launched. In only a few days, hundreds of interested stakeholders registered, and they could immediately enjoy the added value of the functions within the portal. The portal is the result of months of development and adaptation to the needs of the stakeholders.

ILVO expands compost site and points to potential compost: "15% more yield compared to other soil improvers."

ILVO expands compost siteILVO undertook new construction works: Part Two of the ILVO compost site, a covered storage area with compartments for starting material and for finished compost. "This second and last construction phase of the compost site represented an investment of more than € 500,000", says Evy De Vlieghere, construction engineer of ILVO.

Curious how ILVO makes and measures compost? Here you see all the steps in a row.

Milcobel and ILVO cooperate to reduce CO2 emissions from dairy cattle

ILVO - MilcobelDairy cooperative Milcobel and Flanders Research Institute for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (ILVO) are joining together in the sustainability of the dairy sector. By working together on research to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the sector, they are working hard to achieve the 19% reduction in methane emissions imposed by Flanders by 2030. The collaboration was signed on Friday in Merchtem in the presence of MEP and former deputy prime Minister Kris Peeters.