Nobody is fighting over it yet, but the higher-quality restaurants in Europe and further afield are all fervent users of the products of the Dutch company Koppert Cress. The company run by owner Rob Baan has built up a global name with the production of cresses, tiny plants offering taste sensations and refining dishes. The company also supplies edible flowers and leaves. The NatuGro products are used during the production process. This approach has proved very effective, with strong results.
Henk Grashoff is the cultivation team leader at one of the four branches of Koppert Cress. On the advice of consultant Marjolein van der Knaap, he carried out a number of trials with NatuGro last year. No major differences were visible in that trial, according to Henk.
A second trial followed in a different crop in 2015: in kaffir lime or makrut lime (Citrus hystrix). The team leader wanted to see if he could speed up the productivity of this crop using NatuGro. On this occasion, the differences compared with an untreated section were very clear. 'The young plants were treated with ProParva and ProTerrum. Their root systems developed much better than those of the untreated plants. We saw more roots, with more branching.'
Big production gains
After that, Henk Grashoff started treating the crop with ProTerrum, ProFortum, and Natural Calcium to encourage more vegetative growth and more foliage. This policy is perfectly logical; it is the leaves of many of the Koppert Cress crops that form the final product. The more leaves are plucked or cut from a crop before the plants age too much, the greater the volume that can be sold.
On this occasion, too, the effect was striking. The crop looked visibly better, and retained this good appearance. Most importantly, however, production got up to speed much sooner. 'The Citrus hystrix was planted in April. I had assumed that the plant would be fully grown in December. That would be when we could start harvesting the leaves. But the crop developed much faster than that, and we were able to start harvesting the leaves in May. We no longer have to wait until the plant is fully grown. The NatuGro products ensure a spectacular production gain and the associated boost in profits.'
Henk Grashoff has noticed an additional effect: the plants no longer grow straight upwards from the root. 'That problem occurred quite frequently, but not in the NatuGro-treated crop. The plants are clearly much more in balance.'
In consultation with Marjolein van der Knaap, the team leader is keen to gradually extend the use of NatuGro to other crops. 'A number of our crops are not particularly difficult to cultivate; they just grow as they are supposed to. But we do have crops in our range in which NatuGro makes a very positive impact. In Citrus hystrix, the NatuGro products have certainly proven their worth.' The other branches of Koppert Cress have now also started using NatuGro.