Organised by

Institute for agricultural and fisheries research


inagro, onderzoek & advies in land- en tuinbouw

pcg, proefcentrum Kruishoutem

PCS, proefcentrum voor sierteelt

Proefstation voor de Groenteteelt


Vlaamse Landmaatschappij


Summary of benchmark study

A summary of the benchmark study can be downloaded.


Growers urgently need to find and implement more sustainable strategies for the intensive production of vegetables, potatoes, flowers and ornamental trees. Plant production in the open field or in greenhouses is challenged by the need to balance high productivity and sometimes late harvests with fewer nutrient losses to the environment. The reasons for this are clear: the nutrient enrichment of soil and water disrupts the natural processes in agro-ecosystems and leads to decreased biodiversity. High concentrations of nitrate or phosphate can cause eutrophication of the surface and coastal water. Leaching of nitrate or phosphate to the groundwater can pose a problem for drinking-water production.

NUTRIHORT is part of Flanders' action programme to tackle the critical issues of the Nitrates Directive and Water Framework in the context of intensive horticulture. This initiative has been requested by the European Commission - DG Environment.


NUTRIHORT presents the current knowledge of sustainable and innovative techniques in vegetable and ornamental plant production. The conference focuses on innovative fertilization, crop residues management, crop rotation, organic matter management and soil quality practices in horticulture. Throughout this conference, the focus is on the conflict between crop quality demands and legislative requirements to protect water quality. Oral presentations are be scheduled at 15-minute intervals. At the end of the sessions, poster presenters have the opportunity to give 1-minute presentations to introduce their poster.

In addition to oral and poster presentations on these topics, working groups during dedicated sessions discuss 1) technical and economic benchmarking of sustainable and innovative cultivation and fertilization techniques in horticulture and 2) the implementation of environmental EU directives in different horticultural regions and opportunities for innovative nutrient legislation to control pollution and improve water quality. A conference report about the applicability of innovative cultivation and fertilization techniques for vegetable and ornamental plant production will be published, including policy recommendations on nutrient legislation to protect natural resources (in particular improving water quality) from horticulture.

NUTRIHORT also provides networking, so conference attendees can explore long-term collaboration, and research opportunities.

Conference themes

The conference covers the following themes:

  • Nutrient legislation in horticulture 
  • Nitrogen dynamics in relation to soil quality
  • Nitrogen mineralization from soil organic matter in horticultural fields
  • Good agricultural practices for vegetable crop residues
  • Conflict between improving soil organic matter and legislative requirements, e.g. the nitrate directive
  • Phosphorus, horticulture and the environment
  • Conflicts between crop quality and legislative requirements
  • Nutrient use efficiency and fertilization advice
  • Catch crops and crop rotation alternatives in intensive horticultural production
  • Innovative cultivation and fertilization techniques in horticulture
  • Recirculation of nutrients in greenhouse horticulture

The programme (pdf) can be downloaded.

Target audience

This conference is for researchers, graduate and doctoral students, agricultural and environmental agencies, extension officers, policymakers, agricultural auction markets, the food and fertilizer industries, environmental and farmers organizations, horticulturists and others who are interested in nutrient management in vegetable and ornamental plant production.


August 1, 2013: Deadline for registration of presenting authors (oral and poster)

Registration fee

250 €

Conference location

Ghent, Belgium: Ghent University, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering.


Vlaanderen in Actie
© ILVO 2012. Conference secretary:
Vlaamse overheid