Company

23.01.2017
Dirk Röse

Sha­ping the future with inno­va­ti­on and sustai­na­bi­li­ty

The Grow­coon pro­pa­ga­ti­on sys­tem |  A new genera­ti­on of blo­cking substrates  |  Substrates for hydro­po­nic sys­tems  |  A sub­stra­te solu­ti­on to com­bat sciarids  |  Con­tai­ner mulch for small pots  |  TerrAktiv in con­tai­ner substrates

Inter­na­tio­nal com­mer­ci­al hor­ti­cul­tu­re is cur­r­ent­ly under­go­ing mul­ti­fa­ce­ted chan­ges and is repo­si­tio­ning its­elf for the future,” says Nor­bert Siebels, Mana­ging Direc­tor of the Klasmann-Deilmann Group. “Com­pa­nies that wish to fur­ther advan­ce the­se deve­lop­ments in a respon­si­ble man­ner need to bring tog­e­ther dif­fe­rent per­spec­tives. Pro­fi­ta­bi­li­ty, resour­ces and sustai­na­bi­li­ty are among the key cri­te­ria. Which is why we are con­ti­nuing to enhan­ce our pro­duc­ts – we want to keep redrawing the bounda­ries of what’s pos­si­ble and align them with what’s hor­ti­cul­tu­ral­ly bene­fi­ci­al. And Klasmann-Deilmann is also about embra­cing fresh ide­as – inno­va­ti­on and sustai­na­bi­li­ty shape a bet­ter future. That’s what we want to talk about with our custo­mers, busi­ness part­ners and sta­ke­hol­ders at the Inter­na­tio­nal Plant Fair (IPM) in 2017.”

Klasmann-Deilmann is sel­ling Grow­coon

Klasmann-Deilmann is now mar­ke­ting an inno­va­ti­ve plant pro­pa­ga­ti­on sys­tem cal­led ‘Grow­coon’. In Novem­ber 2016, the com­pa­ny signed an agree­ment to this effect with Dutch pro­du­cer Maan Bio­ba­sed Pro­duc­ts. Through Klasmann-Deilmann, Maan will recei­ve direct access to European and inter­na­tio­nal mar­kets. With Grow­coon, Klasmann-Deilmann is now dis­tri­bu­ting a pro­pa­ga­ti­on sys­tem who­se advan­ta­ges are direc­t­ly lin­ked to the use of gro­wing media in hor­ti­cul­tu­ral busi­nes­ses.

Grow­coon is a 100% bio­de­grad­able mesh with an elastic and open struc­tu­re. When used in pro­pa­ga­ti­on sys­tems, this mesh holds the pro­pa­ga­ti­on sub­stra­te in place, with this com­bi­na­ti­on forming a sta­ble root plug. In this way, Grow­coon redu­ces the amount of sub­stra­te nee­ded per plant by up to 50% com­pa­red with other sys­tems, as the gro­wing medi­um is not com­pac­ted. This pre­ser­ves the substrate’s loo­se, airy struc­tu­re, which is key to healt­hy root deve­lop­ment. The result is shorter pro­pa­ga­ti­on times and enhan­ced young-plant per­for­mance, asso­cia­ted with lower ener­gy and space requi­re­ments.

The Grow­coon can be used in all estab­lished pro­pa­ga­ti­on sys­tems; its size is tailo­red to pre­cise­ly fit trays of dif­fe­rent sizes. Grow­coons are pla­ced in trays manu­al­ly or auto­ma­ti­cal­ly using dis­pen­sers upstream from the tray-fil­ling machi­ne (the pro­duct being sui­ta­ble for all stan­dard machi­nes).

Grow­coon is an inte­res­ting inno­va­ti­on in the pro­pa­ga­ti­on of young plants,” says Nor­bert Siebels. “In terms of the effi­ci­en­cy of pro­duc­tion pro­ces­ses in hor­ti­cul­tu­ral busi­nes­ses, the Grow­coon offers defi­ni­te advan­ta­ges for both pro­du­cing young plants and gro­wing-on. At the same time, the product’s bio­de­grada­bi­li­ty means it meets important sustai­na­bi­li­ty cri­te­ria. We are proud to be part­ners with Maan Bio­ba­sed Pro­duc­ts. Klasmann-Deilmann will play an instru­men­tal role in making Grow­coon the suc­cess it deser­ves to be.”

Substrates for the food indus­try

The world’s popu­la­ti­on is gro­wing, but the necessa­ry increa­se in pro­duc­tive land for the food sec­tor is lag­ging behind this need. The sub­stra­te indus­try is, tog­e­ther with agri­cul­tu­re and the ent­i­re food indus­try, facing the ongo­ing chal­len­ge of using avail­ab­le resour­ces sustainab­ly and con­tri­bu­ting as effec­tively as pos­si­ble towards the secu­ring of the food sup­ply,” exp­lains Nor­bert Siebels. In 2016, 42% of Klasmann-Deilmann’s total pro­duc­tion went to the food-pro­du­cing sec­tor. In par­ti­cu­lar, pro­pa­ga­ti­on and orga­nic substrates have firm­ly estab­lished them­sel­ves in the indus­try. “Through our invol­ve­ment in fruit and vege­ta­ble gro­wing on an inter­na­tio­nal sca­le, we and our custo­mers are hel­ping to ensu­re the world has enough food,” Siebels adds.

The new genera­ti­on of blo­cking substrates

The suc­cess­ful com­bi­na­ti­on of fro­zen through black peat and our GreenFibre wood fib­re pro­duct has laid the foun­da­ti­on for a new genera­ti­on of blo­cking substrates. Whe­re­as, pre­vious­ly, the only reci­pes regar­ded as being a reli­able basis for sta­ble press pots were tho­se based sole­ly on black peat, now addi­tio­nal bene­fits can be achie­ved by adding alter­na­ti­ve con­sti­tu­ents. The addi­ti­on of up to 20% GreenFibre results in press pots of even grea­ter sta­bi­li­ty while also redu­cing sub­stra­te weight.

The ‘Pot­grond H’ fami­ly of substrates has been among the ‘clas­sics’ in Klasmann-Deilmann’s ran­ge sin­ce the 1970s. The recent­ly deve­lo­ped ‘Pot­grond H 50 with GreenFibre’ pro­duct not only has a high pro­por­ti­on of wood fib­re but also a spe­ci­al­ly pre­pa­red white-peat com­po­nent with a ‘blo­cking’ func­tion that com­bi­nes with the wood fib­re in the press pot, thus ensu­ring opti­mum sta­bi­li­ty for auto­ma­tic plan­ting-out. At the same time, the air capa­ci­ty has been increa­sed, which ensu­res enhan­ced root deve­lop­ment. Ano­t­her addi­ti­on to the selec­tion is ‘Pot­grond H 85 with GreenFibre’, which satis­fies the defi­ned requi­re­ments for a blend wit­hout white peat.

Both blo­cking substrates can be obtai­ned under the ‘Select’ pro­duct line. Also avail­ab­le to Klasmann-Deilmann custo­mers is a respec­tive publi­ca­ti­on in the ‘Green­No­tes’ series which docu­ments the tech­ni­cal aspec­ts of this new genera­ti­on of blo­cking substrates.

Substrates for hydro­po­nic sys­tems

When pro­pa­ga­ting young plants for gro­wing-on in hydro­po­nic sys­tems, peat-based substrates still get the best results. Klasmann-Deilmann’s spe­cia­list substrates deve­lo­ped espe­ci­al­ly for the­se uses are out­stan­ding in all estab­lished pro­pa­ga­ti­on sys­tems such as press pots, trays and mesh pots. Substrates that addi­tio­nal­ly con­tain the fixing agent ‘Easy Fix’ are pri­ma­ri­ly inten­ded to meet the spe­cial requi­re­ments of plug plants. Adding this orga­nic-mine­ral bin­der, as in ‘Tray Sub­stra­te Easy Fix‘, brings about the sta­bi­li­sa­ti­on of the sub­stra­te and, in turn, that of the root ball as well. In the ‘Dry Hydro­po­nic Sys­tem’, the spe­cia­list sub­stra­te ‘TS Blo­cking’, based on black peat with added clay, results in excel­lent out­co­mes.

For custo­mers of Klasmann-Deilmann who spe­cia­li­se in the pro­pa­ga­ti­on of young plants for hydro­po­nic sys­tems, rele­vant tech­ni­cal infor­ma­ti­on is avail­ab­le in the ‘Green­No­tes’ series of publi­ca­ti­ons.

Sub­stra­te solu­ti­on to pro­blem of sciarid infe­sta­ti­on

In an EU rese­arch pro­ject, Klasmann-Deilmann and the Uni­ver­si­ty of Osna­brück inves­ti­ga­ted the cau­ses of sciarid infe­sta­ti­on, espe­ci­al­ly that which affec­ts orga­nic gro­wers. A new sub­stra­te solu­ti­on was deve­lo­ped that redu­ces deve­lop­ment of sciarids by up to 80%.

Pri­ma­ri­ly in the cul­ti­va­ti­on of orga­nic pot­ted herbs, sciarids are a major pro­blem in the pro­tec­tion of crops. Hor­ti­cul­tu­ral busi­nes­ses incur high costs for bio­lo­gi­cal con­trol of this pest. The EU rese­arch pro­ject team found that the main fac­tor was the com­po­si­ti­on of the substrates used, which con­tai­ned not only raw peat mate­ri­als but also 20 to 30% alter­na­ti­ve con­sti­tu­ents such as com­post, coco pith or wood fib­re, as well as orga­nic fer­ti­li­ser. This blend pro­vi­des the sciarid lar­va with sui­ta­ble living con­di­ti­ons. Depen­ding on their com­po­si­ti­on, orga­nic fer­ti­li­sers in par­ti­cu­lar pro­vi­de a food source for the­se lar­vae.

Under this pro­ject, the selec­tion of sub­stra­te con­sti­tu­ents was chan­ged such that the lar­vae were depri­ved of their natu­ral food source. What is cru­ci­al here is the use of a ful­ly rot­ted, sta­ble green com­post pro­du­ced by Klasmann-Deilmann in com­pli­an­ce with RHP gui­de­li­nes. A method of app­li­ca­ti­on and a novel fer­ti­li­ser for­mu­la­ti­on were also deve­lo­ped that no lon­ger pro­vi­de an ide­al life-sustai­ning medi­um for sciarid lar­vae. With their spe­ci­al­ly tailo­red blend of ingre­dients, the­se fer­ti­li­sers achie­ve remar­kab­ly good out­co­mes not only in the sup­pres­si­on of sciarids but also in terms of plant growth. They are high­ly effi­ci­ent in their nut­ri­ent poten­cy and also rich in ami­no acids that streng­t­hen plants. It was in view of this that, last year, Klasmann-Deilmann instal­led spe­cial fee­ders, enab­ling the new fer­ti­li­sers to be injec­ted direc­t­ly into the substrates.

This new sub­stra­te solu­ti­on is espe­ci­al­ly pro­mi­sing for gro­wers that use orga­nic herb substrates with low to mode­ra­te basic dres­sing, com­bi­ning them with com­mer­ci­al (liquid) regimes for sub­se­quent fer­ti­li­sing. Other poten­ti­al uses are as pro­pa­ga­ti­on substrates for sen­si­ti­ve vege­ta­ble crops such as lamb’s let­tuce.

Con­tai­ner mulch for plants grown in small pots

Only two years after its launch, our con­tai­ner mulch has gai­ned a firm foot­hold in the mar­ket. This inno­va­ti­ve wood-based pro­duct is espe­ci­al­ly desi­gned to effec­tively sup­press weeds in both con­tai­ners and beds. A varia­ti­on on this pro­duct, ‘Fine Con­tai­ner Mulch’, has now been deve­lo­ped spe­ci­fi­cal­ly for use with plants such as Callu­na and her­bace­ous peren­ni­als.

As pre­vious­ly, the results of tri­als and real-world expe­ri­ence con­firm this new mulch has excel­lent adhe­si­ve pro­per­ties that help form a sta­ble covering lay­er and pre­vent soil from being was­hed or blown away by rain or wind. Fine Con­tai­ner Mulch can be mecha­ni­cal­ly pro­ces­sed by all sprea­ding machi­nes, is also per­me­ab­le to water and can be used with all sprink­ler sys­tems. Moreo­ver it is forming an attrac­tively colou­red sta­ble covering lay­er on the con­tai­ner sur­face. Fine Con­tai­ner Mulch is made from sustainab­ly pro­du­ced, PEFC-cer­ti­fied soft­wood. It is avail­ab­le both in 70-lit­re bags and loo­se.

TerrAktiv has a posi­ti­ve influ­ence in con­tai­ner substrates

Micro­bi­al­ly vita­li­sing’ a sub­stra­te by adding our green-com­post pro­duct for gro­wing media, TerrAktiv, has an extre­me­ly posi­ti­ve impact on the qua­li­ty of sen­si­ti­ve con­tai­ner-grown plants. This has been con­fir­med by a pro­ject car­ri­ed out by the French rese­arch cent­re ASTREHOR Loire-Bre­ta­gne. Among the out­co­mes of tri­als docu­men­ted bet­ween 2013 and 2015 are high­ly posi­ti­ve effec­ts when adding 10% TerrAktiv by volu­me: as well as stron­ger root growth, bet­ter plant colo­ra­ti­on and robust­ness, the plants also show­ed more healt­hy growth over­all than the other tested plants in substrates with orga­nic fer­ti­li­sers. In total, the pro­por­ti­on of plants in qua­li­ty cate­go­ries 1 and 2 increa­sed mar­ked­ly, espe­ci­al­ly in years or gro­wing situa­ti­ons with non-ide­al con­di­ti­ons (e.g. a shor­ta­ge of nut­ri­ents, and abio­tic stress cau­sed by fluc­tua­ti­ons in tem­pe­ra­tu­re and humidity).The study’s fin­dings cor­rob­ora­ted the results of our inves­ti­ga­ti­ons. In view of this, Klasmann-Deilmann will add our TerrAktiv com­post to other sub­stra­te reci­pes for con­tai­ner-grown plants.