Visit Koppert Outdoor Experience Centre to discover the potential of biocontrol for outdoor crops
The Outdoor Experience Centre, a partnership between Koppert and De Bruycker Agro, will open to the public on May 30. De Bruycker Agro is a fully operational 100-hectare farm specialised in both organic and conventional crop production. Koppert's solutions are an essential part of the business' Integrated Pest Management System. To experience the practical implications and benefits of Koppert's solutions for outdoor crops, visitors of the Outdoor Experience Centre venture into the field. Here, the potential of biological crop protection truly comes to life.
A business, not a testing ground
‘A visit to the Outdoor Experience Centre is a visit to a business, not a testing ground,’ says Koen de Bruycker, owner of De Bruycker Agro in Dronten, the Netherlands. ‘It is in our best interest to get it right and to only invest in solutions that add value. We have had good experiences with Koppert's products in the past. Now, we are maximising our use of Koppert's solutions based on the crops that we grow. As a business, results are our top priority. But we also want to contribute to Koppert's goal to expand the availability of sustainable solutions. To achieve this, it is important that more growers, partners in the value chain and people with ties to politics experience what biological crop protection looks like in practice. Especially in a time when more and more chemical products are banned, while the approval of biological products continues to lag behind.’
The fields of De Bruycker Agro offer an ideal location for experiencing biological crop protection in practice, explains Lauren Holtslag, manager Agri at Koppert Netherlands. ‘The company is unique because of the wide range of conventional and organic crops,’ says Holtslag. ‘This allows us to demonstrate a variety of solutions and explain how they fit into existing IPM systems.’
Fighting pests while optimising performance
The solutions applied to de Bruycker's crops address various challenges. In carrots, spinach and parsnips, Trianum is used to fight soil diseases. In maize and soybeans, nematodes act as a natural enemy of pests such as the bean seed fly, and in onions these beneficial insects help combat the onion fly. To control thrips in a variety of crops, a combination of beneficial insects and banker plants are used. Also on display at the Outdoor Experience Centre is the application of biostimulants like Vidi Terrum, which promote plant growth and crop resilience, and the introduction of Natupol bumblebees to optimise pollination performance.
The yields and quality of the crops are evidence that the solutions are effective. ‘We applied biological solutions to soybeans for the first-time last year and achieved significantly higher yields compared to previous years,’ says de Bruycker. The application of Natupol bumblebees in pumpkins resulted in a more productive, larger and uniform crop. And in parsnips, Trianum resulted in fewer losses and higher yields. ‘Overall, I have noticed that treated crops look better and that they are more resilient to stress,’ de Bruycker adds.
Theory meets practice
A visit to the Outdoor Experience combines theory and practice. Holtslag: ‘We start out at the welcome centre for a brief presentation. We explain which crops are currently in season, which solutions are being used and for what purpose. Then we venture into the field. We demonstrate the application methods for our products, including the equipment involved, explaining which products can be applied using standard equipment and which require specialised equipment. Our goal is to address any questions growers may have about the practical implications of biological crop protection.’
Visits by appointment only
The Outdoor Experience Centre can be visited through late September. Anyone interested in learning more about biocontrol for outdoor crops is welcome to schedule an appointment. ‘We have real-world results to demonstrate that our products are effective and that they add value and fit into existing IPM systems,’ says Holtslag. ‘We invite you to experience the potential of biological crop protection first hand.’
To visit the Outdoor Experience Centre, please schedule your appointment at https://www.koppert.com/about-koppert/outdoor-experience-centre