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Photo report: Propagation professionals unite during knowledge exchange event

Propagate! is an international event uniting professionals in the field of warm and cold vegetable propagation. The event was organized by Flier Systems in collaboration with Progation Solutions and welcomed over 135 attendees at Corpus in Oegstgeest, the Netherlands, representing a diverse international audience. The primary goal of this gathering was to foster knowledge exchange through engaging presentations and discussions.

Click here for the photo report.

Exploring Plant Empowerment
The event kicked off with an insightful presentation by Ton Habraken of Svensson Climate Screens and Rene Beerkens of Hoogendoorn Growth Management, delving into the intriguing concept of Plant Empowerment. Over a 1.5-hour session, the speakers explored specific propagation topics, such as addressing Oedema in grafting tunnels and optimizing LED lighting, utilizing screens for energy conservation, and preventing blind heads in pinched tomatoes.

Roland Valentin, Mastronardi Produce

Biological Control and Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
Ronald Valentin, Director of Corporate IPM at Mastronardi Produce, captivated the audience with an exploration of biological control and its potential benefits in propagation. He emphasized that biocontrol can be a solid option for pest management during the propagation phase. He also cautioned against excessive pesticide use, as resistance is real and can pose challenges. To ensure success, he stressed the importance of creating standard operating procedures, which he says are critical to success, expanding knowledge about pests and beneficial organisms, and fostering effective communication between propagators and growers. "Start using Biocontrol agents in time will improve bio control efforts after planting. And ensure the quality of your BCAs. Don't make assumptions: it's always important to check."

The Propagate Experience
Following these informative presentations, the Propagate Experience unfolded, providing a platform for eight companies to showcase their innovative products and solutions. Each presenter had a concise nine minutes to introduce their concepts.

As a spokesperson for Kekkilä-BVB, Arjan Zwinkels took the floor to discuss BVB Levo. Organic growers often struggle to provide their crops with a strong start due to the limited availability of nutrients. In collaboration with their customers, Kekkilä-BVB developed BVB Levo to address these challenges. Arjan stated, "BVB Levo ensures that substrate activity is boosted from the beginning, providing plants with the nutrients they require immediately. This enables organic growers to cultivate the strongest and healthiest plants for their customers."

Ton Habraken of Ludvig Svensson presented PARperfect. "With PARperfect, the shade level in the greenhouse can be continuously adjusted from 20% to 100%, much like a light dimmer. This innovative solution relies on a combination of screens, including at least two screens. The PARperfect climate screen serves as the bottom screen, and its high diffusivity ensures even light distribution across the plants. This guarantees that the crop receives the correct amount of radiation, avoiding excessive or insufficient light exposure."

Pim van Geest of AgriData Innovations shared insights into their GA-Box. This is a static data collection system where the grower brings in crops for analysis. By accessing the ADI WebApp, growers can view an organized overview of their crops. This data is then linked to the grower's ERP system, enabling data-driven cultivation management.

2Grow, led by Maxime DeDecker, introduced a unique way to 'communicate' with crops using sensors. By monitoring how plants truly respond to various influences in real time, this approach offers significant efficiency gains. Maxime stated, "While we have extensive knowledge about the environment around the plant, we lack insight into how the plant itself responds. With the 2Grow sensor package, this knowledge gap becomes a thing of the past." The plant sensors include a sap flow sensor and a stem diameter-variation sensor, measuring the plant's reactions to climate changes (e.g., irrigation, lighting) and manipulations (e.g., pruning, harvesting). These sensors can remain in the same location on the plant throughout the growing season.

Mprise Agriware presented their 365 Insect app.

Red Horticulture, represented by Alex Hogervorst, informed the audience about their LED solutions, which include dynamic dimming and dynamic spectrum technology.

Massimo Bizzarri of Ecofarm discussed the use of ozone in a protocol called Prophylax. This protocol encapsulates years of applied research, resulting in a specific ozone application. Massimo mentioned, "The results obtained from Prophylax bring multiple benefits, including increased greenhouse biosecurity and reduced infection risk, while also offering economical management costs."

The final presentation during the Progate Experience was by Flier Systems. Adrie van Diemen introduced their latest innovation, TransplanterInStonewool (TiS). We previously covered this intriguing solution for transplanting young plants, and it's worth revisiting here.

Stéphane André of Hortilux was introduced by Hans van Herk.

After a coffee break, Stéphane André of Hortilux shared the results and insights gained from the LED trials conducted at Beekenkamp nursery during the winter of 2022-2023, focusing on spectrum choice and the integration of sunlight and LED. Much attention was given to far-red light, exploring when it is needed, in what quantity, and the consequences of too much or too little. Extensive research was initiated, with trials commencing at Beekenkamp Plants in 's-Gravenzande in week 45 of 2022. The trials were highly successful, with growers granting permission to use the LED solutions from the trial for propagating their young plants as early as week 47. Aad van Kester, a crop specialist with 27 years of experience, closely followed the trial and remarked, "After almost a year of experience with LED application at Beekenkamp, I can confidently say that this investment adds significant value to fruit vegetable cultivation. In addition to energy savings, there are opportunities to control plant growth with precision. These new insights instill confidence in the future."

John Potters, Crop Technical Manager at Vreugdenhil Young Plants, concluded the first day of Propagate. He guided the audience through the company's mission, "Keeping ToBRFV Off the Site," emphasizing their dedication to maintaining a pest-free environment. Watch the presentation here.

Click here for the photo report.

For more information:
Zuideinde 49, 2991 LJ
Barendrecht, the Netherlands
Tel.:+31(0)180 615 055