Dirk Röse

The Future of Growing

Inter­na­tio­nal Plant Fair (Inter­na­tio­na­le Pflan­zen­mes­se, IPM) in Essen

The main empha­sis of Klasmann-Deilmann’s IPM pre­sence will be on the sub­stra­te of the future. In the com­ing years, the Group will be con­si­der­ab­ly expan­ding its efforts to deve­lop inno­va­ti­ve sub­stra­te con­sti­tu­ents and gro­wing sys­tems. “We will incre­a­se the pro­por­ti­on of alter­na­ti­ve sub­stra­te con­sti­tu­ents to 15% of our total pro­duc­tion by 2020,” says Mana­ging Direc­tor Nor­bert Siebels. The cur­rent focus is on TerrAktiv green com­post and the wood fib­re pro­duct GreenFibre, both of which the com­pa­ny makes its­elf and which are a hor­ti­cul­tu­ral­ly valu­able addi­ti­on to many sub­stra­te blends. “Our Rese­arch and Deve­lo­p­ment depart­ment will, howe­ver, explo­re com­ple­te­ly new ave­nues to arri­ve at solu­ti­ons that no-one yet has their sights on.” The aim is to con­ser­ve exis­ting resour­ces, to com­ple­ment them with new raw mate­ri­als and, in the medi­um term, to be able to pro­du­ce substrates that meet sus­taina­bi­li­ty cri­te­ria even more ful­ly while also achie­ving grea­ter public accep­t­ance. “In this way, we will fur­ther con­so­li­da­te our lea­ding posi­ti­on wit­hin the gro­wing-media sec­tor in terms of both qua­li­ty and ser­vice,” Siebels adds.

A wealth of inno­va­ti­on at the IPM 2016

The Inter­na­tio­nal Plant Fair 2016 in Essen will see Klasmann-Deilmann pre­sen­ting a num­ber of new gro­wing-media pro­ducts offe­ring dis­tinct advan­ta­ges in various are­as of com­mer­cial hor­ti­cul­tu­re. A ran­ge of substrates for soft fruits meets the needs of all com­mon­ly cul­ti­va­ted crops and leads to reli­able crop per­for­mance both in expe­ri­en­ced nur­se­ries and for gro­wers just ent­e­ring this seg­ment. A trail­bla­zing advan­ce­ment has been achie­ved in black-peat-based blo­cking substrates: the addi­ti­on of the wood fib­re pro­duct GreenFibre with a share of 10% results in even grea­ter sta­bi­li­ty of press pots while redu­cing weight. In orga­nic substrates, the com­bi­na­ti­on of high-qua­li­ty raw mate­ri­als and a brand-new fer­ti­li­ser for­mu­la­ti­on noti­ce­ab­ly redu­ces pres­su­re from scia­rids. Fur­ther­mo­re, Klasmann-Deilmann has trans­for­med its brand iden­ti­ty in kee­ping with the company’s acce­le­ra­ting internationalisation.

Spe­cial substrates for reli­able cul­ti­va­ti­on of soft fruits

For years now, demand for soft fruit such as straw­ber­ries, raspber­ries and blu­e­ber­ries has con­ti­nued to grow world­wi­de. It is wit­hin this seg­ment that Klasmann-Deilmann has deve­lo­ped a ran­ge of spe­cial substrates desi­gned for gro­wing soft fruits.

The substrates ‘Klasmann TS 4 – soft fruit with per­li­te’ (reci­pe 496) and ‘Klasmann TS 4 – soft fruit with GreenFibre’ (reci­pe 497) are avail­ab­le for use in con­tai­ners or in sub­stra­te-fil­led gut­ters. The­re is also a peat-free blend cal­led ‘Klasmann con­tai­ner sub­stra­te 3 – soft fruit coir’ (reci­pe 237), as well as a sub­stra­te blend – ‘Klasmann TS1 – soft fruit pro­pa­ga­ti­on’ (reci­pe 881) – deve­lo­ped espe­cial­ly for gro­wing young plants. In terms of their pH values and nut­ri­ent sup­ply, the­se substrates have been pre­cise­ly desi­gned to meet the needs of soft fruits. For examp­le, they con­tain chela­ted trace ele­ments to spe­ci­fi­cal­ly ensu­re a reli­able sup­ply of iron. “It was important to us to design a ran­ge of substrates that deli­ver reli­able crop out­co­mes,” says Horst Kup­schus, Mana­ging Direc­tor of Klasmann-Deilmann Euro­pe GmbH. “We also had in mind gro­wers just ent­e­ring this seg­ment, for whom it is espe­cial­ly important to have a reli­able sub­stra­te like this.”

Klasmann-Deilmann pro­vi­des nur­se­ries with an in-depth advi­so­ry ser­vice on all aspects of gro­wing soft fruits. “This also app­lies to gro­wers who are cur­r­ent­ly merely thin­king about cul­ti­vat­ing soft fruits in the future,” says Kup­schus. “Our spe­cia­lists have drawn up gui­de­li­nes brin­ging tog­e­ther the key facts. This will help them make an infor­med decisi­on and, if they so wish, to enter this seg­ment.” Tit­led ‘Green­No­tes’, the manu­al gives basic gui­d­ance on cul­ti­va­ti­on, crop manage­ment, sub­stra­te use and fer­ti­li­sa­ti­on, hel­ping new gro­wers of soft fruits to get off to a good start.

Blo­cking substrates with 10% GreenFibre

Klasmann-Deilmann has out­stan­ding exper­ti­se when it comes to blo­cking substrates. Gro­wers have spe­cial requi­re­ments for the­se gro­wing media. Up to now, pri­ma­ri­ly blends based sole­ly on fro­zen black peat have pro­ven of value. But now the com­pa­ny has suc­cee­ded in deve­lo­ping blo­cking substrates con­tai­ning 10% of the GreenFibre wood fib­re pro­duct (pro­du­ced at in-house faci­li­ties), which enhan­ces the sta­bi­li­ty of the press pots still fur­ther while also redu­cing sub­stra­te weight.

We are extre­me­ly plea­sed with this achie­ve­ment by our Rese­arch and Deve­lo­p­ment depart­ment,” says Horst Kup­schus, Mana­ging Direc­tor of Klasmann-Deilmann Euro­pe GmbH. “Our new blo­cking substrates with GreenFibre offer our cus­to­mers a wealth of bene­fits.” The pre­cise balan­ce bet­ween various black peat raw mate­ri­als and GreenFibre ensu­res the pro­duct pos­ses­ses the same high degree of relia­bi­li­ty that a blo­cking sub­stra­te based sole­ly on black peat has. Inde­ed, in prac­ti­ce the new press pots exhi­bit even grea­ter sta­bi­li­ty and ensu­re a trou­ble-free pro­duc­tion pro­cess. The addi­ti­on of GreenFibre also enhan­ces both the rewet­ting and the air capa­ci­ty of the pots – a fur­ther boost to plant growth.

The fact that our blo­cking substrates also con­tain GreenFibre – cer­ti­fied to PEFC and RHP stan­dards – con­fers an addi­tio­nal advan­ta­ge in terms of sus­taina­bi­li­ty,” Kup­schus exp­lains. The reduc­tion in sub­stra­te weight has a posi­ti­ve impact on emis­si­ons of trans­port-rela­ted green­house gases. Ano­t­her bene­fit is that the excel­lent cli­ma­te foot­print of this wood fib­re pro­duct hel­ps keep down emis­si­on levels attri­bu­ta­ble to blo­cking substrates. And peat sup­plies are also safeguarded.

Klasmann-Deilmann was, in the mid-1970s, the world’s first com­pa­ny to deve­lop gro­wing media on the basis of black peat and to suc­cess­ful­ly launch them onto rele­vant mar­kets. Nume­rous substrates deve­lo­ped back then are still among the company’s most suc­cess­ful pro­ducts to the pre­sent day, inclu­ding a ran­ge of blo­cking substrates.

Sub­stra­te solu­ti­on to redu­ce pro­blems with scia­rid infestation

In an EU rese­arch pro­ject, Klasmann-Deilmann and the Uni­ver­si­ty of Osna­brück inves­ti­ga­ted the cau­ses of scia­rid infe­sta­ti­on, espe­cial­ly in orga­nic cul­ti­va­ti­on. They deve­lo­ped a new sub­stra­te solu­ti­on that redu­ces deve­lo­p­ment of scia­rids by up to 80%.

Pri­ma­ri­ly in the cul­ti­va­ti­on of orga­nic pot herbs, scia­rids are a major pro­blem. Nur­se­ries 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 peat raw mate­ri­als but also 20 to 30% alter­na­ti­ve con­sti­tu­ents such as green com­post, coir or wood fib­re, as well as solid orga­nic fer­ti­li­ser. This blend pro­vi­des the scia­rid lar­vae with sui­ta­ble living con­di­ti­ons. Orga­nic fer­ti­li­sers, in par­ti­cu­lar, pro­vi­de a direct 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 ful­ly rot­ted and matu­re green com­post pro­du­ced by Klasmann-Deilmann in com­pli­an­ce with RHP gui­de­li­nes. A method of app­li­ca­ti­on and a novel fer­ti­li­ser for­mu­la­ti­on were also deve­lo­ped to ensu­re that the sub­stra­te has vir­tual­ly no poten­ti­al as a life-sus­tai­ning medi­um for scia­rid lar­vae. Put tog­e­ther from spe­cial vege­ta­ble and ani­mal con­sti­tu­ents, the­se fer­ti­li­ser 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 spe­ci­fic ami­no acids that streng­t­hen plants. It was in view of this that, last year, Klasmann-Deilmann instal­led spe­cial fee­ders in two of its pro­duc­tion faci­li­ties, enab­ling the new fer­ti­li­ser to be injec­ted direct­ly into the substrates.


This new sub­stra­te solu­ti­on is espe­cial­ly pro­mi­sing for gro­wers that use orga­nic pot herb substrates with low to mode­ra­te base fer­ti­li­sa­ti­on, com­bi­ning them with sub­se­quent liquid fee­ding regimes. Other poten­ti­al uses are as pro­pa­ga­ti­on substrates for sen­si­ti­ve vege­ta­ble crops such as lamb’s lettuce.

Big-bale pro­duc­tion in Lit­hua­nia expanded

Klasmann-Deilmann has built an addi­tio­nal fac­to­ry in Lit­hua­nia. This faci­li­ty, gea­red ent­i­re­ly to pro­du­cing big bales, went into ope­ra­ti­on in time for the start of the 2016 sea­son. It has incre­a­sed the capa­ci­ty for manu­fac­tu­ring gro­wing media in the Bal­tic regi­on to more than 1.5 mil­li­on m³ per annum.

We can now boast the hig­hest-out­put pro­duc­tion faci­li­ty for gro­wing media in the Bal­tic sta­tes,” says Nor­bert Siebels, Mana­ging Direc­tor of the Klasmann-Deilmann Group. “Hor­ti­cul­tu­ral busi­nes­ses throughout the world will bene­fit from this.”

Inten­ded to com­ple­ment the fac­to­ry ope­ned in 2010 and in which the inter­na­tio­nal­ly sought-after 200-lit­re bales have been pro­du­ced sin­ce 2010, the new pro­duc­tion unit is desi­gned sole­ly for big bales. And sod peat, mil­led peat as well as Lit­hua­ni­an black peat are pro­ces­sed here, repre­sen­ting a necessa­ry step pri­or to sub­stra­te manu­fac­tu­re. A ‘labo­ra­to­ry green­house’ has also been constructed.


It was con­ti­nuous­ly incre­a­sing demand that made this expan­si­on of our pro­duc­tion capa­ci­ty necessa­ry. “This new fac­to­ry is our respon­se to our cus­to­mers’ wis­hes,” says Nor­bert Siebels. “We have noti­ce­ab­ly incre­a­sed our capa­bi­li­ty so we can meet inter­na­tio­nal requi­re­ments. At the same time, the qua­li­ty of the pro­ducts packa­ged in big bales is being enhan­ced. The posi­ti­ve impact of sta­te-of-the-art sys­tems engi­nee­ring on raw mate­ri­als and end pro­ducts should not be unde­re­sti­ma­ted. Here, too, we have suc­cee­ded in making fur­ther improvements.”

New cor­po­ra­te design

The Klasmann-Deilmann Group has fun­da­ment­al­ly rea­li­gned its brand iden­ti­ty, with the new cor­po­ra­te design to be laun­ched at the IPM 2016.

 The Group has kept its dis­tinc­ti­ve K logo and the glo­bal­ly suc­cess­ful slo­gan ‘we make it grow’. Many chan­ges have been made, howe­ver. The cor­po­ra­te logo has a more modern look. For the logos of the ‘Easy Gro­wing’ and ‘Select’ pro­duct lines, a com­mon design is adop­ted in which the alter­na­ti­ve sub­stra­te con­sti­tu­ents ‘GreenFibre’ and ‘TerrAktiv’ are incor­po­ra­ted. The fonts have been alte­red and the colour palet­te is more diver­se. Even the shade of green used has been ali­gned with inter­na­tio­nal stan­dards. Klasmann-Deilmann has revi­ta­li­sed nume­rous aspects of its brand identity.

The cata­lyst for the­se chan­ges was the company’s sin­gle-min­ded approach to its advan­ce­ment, espe­cial­ly in recent years: the pro­duct ran­ge has been exten­ded to inclu­de many new gro­wing media, alter­na­ti­ve con­sti­tu­ents and addi­tio­nal inno­va­tions, and has been con­ti­nuous­ly enhan­ced. The com­pa­ny has also gai­ned a foot­hold in a new busi­ness area: rene­wa­ble ener­gy and resources.

We have a repu­ta­ti­on as the com­pa­ny that shapes the glo­bal sub­stra­te indus­try,” said Nor­bert Siebels, Mana­ging Direc­tor of the Klasmann-Deilmann Group. “So the values and image of our brand are cru­cial to how we are extern­al­ly per­cei­ved. Our cus­to­mers and part­ners all over the world asso­cia­te Klasmann-Deilmann with qua­li­ty, relia­bi­li­ty and sus­taina­bi­li­ty. At the same time, they value the per­so­nal touch in our con­ta­ct with them. All of the­se are things we want our new cor­po­ra­te design to express.”

Klasmann-Deilmann is the lea­ding play­er in the inter­na­tio­nal sub­stra­te indus­try, with sub­si­dia­ries and tra­de part­ners in more than 70 coun­tries. Our substrates pro­vi­de the basis for plant growth and for the suc­cess of hor­ti­cul­tu­ral com­pa­nies. As an up-and-com­ing pro­vi­der of rene­wa­ble resour­ces, we are also acti­ve in the rene­wa­ble ener­gy sec­tor. Our stan­dards inclu­de RHP, ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and ISO 14064, and our bench­mark is inno­va­ti­on and sus­taina­bi­li­ty in all parts of the com­pa­ny. In the 2015 finan­cial year, we had a work­for­ce of 950 and gene­ra­ted sales of about EUR 180 million.