On Tuesday afternoon an organised tour to growers and research stations in Flanders will be offered.
At registration participants will be able to give their preference between 3 different technical tours:
- PCG: PCG is a research centre focusing on vegetables and herbs growing in open air or sheltered (conventional and organic).
- Inagro: Next to field trials of conventional and organic arable crops and vegetables, greenhouse cultivation, forcing of Brussels chicory and aquaculture are researched at Inagro.
- PCS/ILVO: The optimization of culture methods of ornamental plants is an important research theme of PCS. This includes trials in open air as well as closed culture systems. ILVO Plant - Crop Husbandry and Environment performs research on the behaviour of agricultural and horticultural crops (conventional and organic) in open air and on farm composting.
PCG is a research centre in East Flanders near Ghent. Research is done on vegetables and herbs growing in open air or sheltered, conventional and organic. During the visit you will be able to have a close look to the most innovative techniques tested at the moment. Investigation on innovative fertilizing techniques is particularly done in the context of the fertilizer legislation: MAP4-5. More specifically research is done on the use of Nutrient Film Technique both under protection and open air for the cultivation of leafy vegetables and herbs. Under protection there is on one hand management of the leakage in soil, on the other hand demonstration in soilless cultures of fruity vegetables. In open air there will be ongoing tests on innovative techniques like: in row fertilisation, slow release fertilizers, nitrification inhibitors, fractioned fertilisation based on KNS (Kulturbegeleitenden Nmin sollwerte-System), the use of green manure and the implementation of crop residues. Also, the fertilizer machines will be exposed as guidance during the presentation.
On the same location, there is a research centre specific for the cultivation of potatoes, called PCA, who will explain about cultivation techniques used for potatoes, including in row fertilisation.
The excursion will end with a visit to a brand new (2013) 10 ha greenhouse complex, focussed on the culture of tomato. The greenhouse is equipped with the most recent techniques available at the moment.
Inagro has trial plots for conventional and organic farming on the campus in Beitem and across West Flanders. On these trial plots, new varieties of different crops are tested. There is intensive search for improved environmental friendly farming methods that respect output and quality of crops. Inagro’s researchers warn farmers and growers for upcoming insect pests or diseases. So they can intervene quickly and selectively.
In greenhouses and other growing areas, specific crops, mushrooms and fish are examined.
Inagro has its own laboratory. Soil and manure samples can be analyzed and fertilizer recommendation are given. Employees of Inagro visit farmers and horticulturists and advise them on specific questions. Through these contacts, the researchers track the latest developments.
Inagro follows innovative ideas from the beginning and analyses them to achieve practical innovations to serve farmers and horticulturists. With various research projects on water, energy, aquaculture, bio-renewable resources..., Inagro plays a leading part in Flanders.
Over the years, the distance between consumers and agricultural and horticultural workers steadily increased. To restore the dialogue between consumers and producers, the province of West Flanders has a network of farms for visits. Farmers shorten the food chain by selling own farm products. Inagro employees assist them in this.
The Research Centre for Ornamental Plants PCS is situated in Destelbergen, Flanders, right in the heart of the growing region for ornamental plants. PCS carries out applied scientific research and more practice-oriented research. At both levels the research is done thematically. One of the main research topics is nutrient management.
During the visit you will be able to take a close look at the current trials and installations in open air as well as under protection.
Research in open air:
- research on soil fertility and cover crops
- ornamentals, grown in a closed system with reduced nutrient leaching
- the closed culture system in open air for tree-nursery at PCS , in which water and fertilizers are recycled, so that nothing can leach into the subsoil as well as the two stage constructed wetland for purification of drain water
- establishment of a water and nutrient balance for container grown shrubs by means of lysi- boxes.
- comparison of ground-cover materials for container growing systems (horizontal versus vertical drain).
Research in greenhouse:
- utility research of new water disinfection systems (chloordioxide units, hydrogen
peroxides, copper ions, electrochemical activation).
Crop Husbandry and Environment performs scientific research on the behaviour of agricultural and horticultural crops under different growth conditions. The aim is to improve the yield and quality in a sustainable way (i.e. with respect for man, animal and environment).
During the technical tour we will visit the composting site of ILVO. Agricultural soils in northern Belgium are low in organic carbon. One of the strategies used to increase the organic carbon content is applying compost as a source of stabilised organic matter. Compost for this purpose can be prepared at the farm level, which gives the farmer the opportunity to recycle organic waste products e.g. crop residues from vegetables.
Next to the composting site we will visit some field experiments of ILVO. Field experiments, both for conventional and organic farming, focus on improving the production methods of arable, forage and vegetable crops and the implementation of the statutory requirements and good agricultural and environmental practice, as described in the cross compliance of the Mid Term Review of the EU Commission: reduction of nitrate leaching, erosion prevention, carbon storage, role of permanent pastures and leguminous crops, …