Research on pests in plants is also useful for developing research methods

Tholen – NovaCropControl was early on with the introduction of plant sap analyzes into horticulture. Since 2008, the company has been working to define the relationship between nutrition and plant health. An open evening was organized on Wednesday evening to engage a wide audience in the research of recent years.

There was great interest in the evening open. There was even talk of stopping recording

The venue was the testing site in Loon op Zand, and it’s no coincidence also where co-founder Bart Vromans is himself a grower of soft fruit. NovaCropControl has had a tunnel greenhouse at its disposal since 2018. This year, three climate chambers have been added in the Oisterwijk office.

The NovaCropControl demo is located in Loon op Zand on the TerraVie farm site.

Wide audience, young speakers
About a hundred people showed up in the evening, an event unique to NovaCropControl that had never organized such a round of trials before. Before dark, they were able to visit three projects and a presentation by Bart in groups of about ten people. His partner Sjoerd Smits and other members of the growing team of plant succulents were delighted to see the very diverse audience that attended the evening. There were, among others, fruit vegetable growers, ornamental plant growers, nursery workers, and soft fruit growers. In addition, some suppliers were also present.

Remarkably during the evening, presentations were given by several young researchers from HAS University of Applied Sciences, as well as Bart himself. Someone (attributed to Sabine) threw the ball to tell them where they were standing after about four years of searching the new facilities. An idea quickly adopted by the rest of the team.

The watering fixture, complete with bowls for 30 different recipes, made an impression.

This resulted in an evening where current projects were told with great enthusiasm. In the meantime, Shourd supplied the speakers with “speaking waters”, although this was only necessary on account of a fine summer evening. The researchers knew enough about the studies themselves.

Sjoerd Smits provides speakers with “speech water”.

New facilities
Bart himself has spoken about starting his own test tunnels in Loon op Zand and the new climate chambers that NovaCropControl has owned since this year. There are three, fitted with LED lighting and HPS, and unlike the previously available climate rooms, there is also the option of climate control. According to Bart, the NovaCropControl team has been asked regularly over the years if they would also like to open a demo site offshore. This was not deliberately chosen. “We want to learn more about the relationship between nutrition and plant resistance, not more travel,” Bart laughed.

Wastewater is collected under gutters, separately for each experiment.

In a miniature air tunnel greenhouse, researchers can examine all kinds of crops, just as in climate chambers. The challenge with a tunnel greenhouse is that it can get a little warmer than it would in a glass greenhouse and that the temperature drop at night is also hard to control. However, this is possible in climate rooms.

Above each tray is its own recipe.

Each study consisted of at least three replicates. This is a requirement for plant succulents professionals who have their own research agenda and who conduct third party research. In the latter case, the requirement is to have research on plant resistance. “This could relate to crop protection, but last year, for example, the oxygen system was tested here to examine effects on plant resistance, using plant sap analyses.”

Lots of snakes to feed each experiment separately.

Five spearheads
A few years ago, our investigations consciously focused on five spearheads: the whitefly, aphids, mildew, phytoplankton, and vegetation. The focus this year is on aphids, molds and plants. What was astonishing was that researchers regularly indicated that they took a step back in the research. The reason for this is that research methods sometimes turn out to be suboptimal. If the results when using a method, even if it has already been used elsewhere in the research, differ greatly, then specialists of plant succulents first want to make sure of this. Studies of mildew in tomatoes and the relationship between nitrate sensitivity and aphids have yielded a new research method.

It was a beautiful summer evening.

More on the studies discussed will follow in a later article on this channel.

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