by Christos Katsanos

A brief summary on the IPS

IPS is an idea born back in 2011 to keep the Young Plants Propagators worldwide in touch with all the new developments in the market. "From the beginning, DKG Group was an Ambassador of this idea, since we were initiative members in another similar idea, the GEP (Green Expert Platform) powered by Grodan Group," writes Christos Katsanos, Entrepreneur and Co-founder of DKG group. 

Back in September (22&23) around one hundred plant growers and related companies from the Netherlands and, at long last, abroad, gathered in Bodegraven to attend the annual International Propagation Seminar. Over two days, participants were allowed to catch up, share knowledge, and take a look behind the scenes at a few Dutch companies.

The knowledge and networking event, organized by Grodan, Flier Systems, and Propagation Solutions, opened with an afternoon of lectures on various topics, but with a common thread: growing better and more sustainable young vegetable plants.

After a short introductory talk by Hans van Herk of Propagation Solutions and a round of introductions by all those present from the organizing companies Flier Systems and Grodan, it was Ted Duijvestijn's turn to kick off the lecture part of the event. Ted discussed the state of affairs at his company, showed the world-famous Netflix film, and also brought up the topic of vertical farming. Does it have a future for plant breeders? Ted is convinced that it does, and not just for growing tomatoes or tomato plants, but also for growing in challenging climates.

No crop protection products, lighting instead
That is when lighting comes into play. Like many production growers, plant breeders also use lighting. Following the example of these production growers, plant breeders are experimenting with LED lighting in hybrid or even 100% form. At Gipmans Planten, they opted for hybrid lighting in 2017, explained Sales Manager Marcel Janssen, assisted by Grower R&D Frank Huijs from the audience. "Perhaps the most important reason for this step was the desire to grow without crop protection agents. In 8000 m2 of a greenhouse, there is a 50-50 ratio of HPS and LED, good for 100 micromols."

One year later, the investment in 18 LED climate cells followed, good for 300 micromols. The grower is seeing good results in both peppers and cucumbers. In sweet pepper, the growers see stable germination, and they expect to be able to transplant the plugs to the blocks in time automatically, because the young plants are much more suitable for this now. Cucumber growers have noticed that they can produce a stable plant all year round and can thus supply it well.

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