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Key role for microbial products

Industry leader Koppert explain how microorganisms are a solution in soft fruit production.

Worldwide production of products such as strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, and other berries is on the rise. Growers who are expanding and want to boost production and eliminate cultivation risks often turn to natural solutions with key industry suppliers such as Koppert Biological Systems. The firm has now added microbial products to its range of products and they are looking very promising. According to the company, they are essential if a robust cultivation system is desired. Koppert confirms that bumblebees and beneficial insects are in great demand in soft fruit production worldwide to improve crop sustainability.

Bees, beneficial insects, and microbiology at Koppert

The major investments and increasing capital intensity mean that growers want to avoid risks as far as possible. At the same time, they are coming under pressure as the range of chemical products available shrinks and these products are becoming less effective. In addition, buyers want products that are residue-free. More and more growers are therefore looking for solutions in integrated or even fully biological cultivation methods. Koppert Biological Systems provides these solutions. The market leader in improving crop sustainability has a full range of products available, offering bumblebees for pollination, natural enemies to combat pests, and biostimulants (microbial products and natural substances) that support and strengthen the plant. Koppert’s bumblebees (products such as Natupol, Tripol, and Natupol Booster) have been best-sellers in the fruit cultivation sector for years. This also applies to beneficial insects such as Swirski-Mite, Macro-Mite, Spical, and Limonica. These are natural enemies that tackle pests such as thrips, spider mite, and whitefly effectively in soft fruit crops. In the range of microbial products (produced from beneficial fungi and bacteria), Trianum and Linafer-P head the list. ProParva and Fortafol are biostimulants made from natural substances. These products have a beneficial and useful function for the plant, both above and below the soil surface. They strengthen the root system and plant and promote the absorption of nutrients, plant growth and resistance to disease or pests, as well as other stress factors such as drought.

Sales & Marketing Director Peter Maes argues that microbial products offer great promise for the future. He points out that these products have already achieved an important market position in many crops. ‘Because they strengthen crops so effectively, they are very useful – even essential – in countries and regions where cultivation conditions are less than optimum. Thanks to these products, the crops grow stronger and more resilient towards soil diseases, leaf and fruit diseases, and also against pests. Microbials play a key role in soft fruit production.’

Large investments

Maes emphasises that it is not just the high quality of Koppert products that makes the difference. ‘The focus is on natural, often living products. Growers need to learn how to work with these. That’s why we also advise growers and offer them intensive guidance. This helps create a robust, integrated system, and the success of the crop becomes significantly more certain. This is exactly what our customers want.’ To maintain expertise at the highest level, Koppert regularly consults with large international producers and trading companies. As Maes explains, ‘This way, we keep abreast of cultivation issues and developments, and the current wishes of the retail sector and the consumer. This is all valuable input for our researchers, product developers and consultants. 

Koppert at Fruit Logistica 2016, Berlin: Hall 1.2 – stand D-08

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Koppert Spain building new R&D centre in Almería

Research into microorganisms that are beneficial to agriculture will be one of the key activities to be developed at Koppert's new R&D centre.

Koppert Biological Systems, recently laid the foundation stone for a sustainable building in the Spanish town of Vícar and hopes to bring microbiological solutions closer to growers around the world.

In a press release, the company’s local sales director Valter Ceppi said the building is much more than an economic investment. “It represents Koppert’s commitment to agriculture and reflects our interest in working side by side with farmers to improve the competitiveness and commercial value of their crops.”

The Mayor of Vícar in the province of Almería, Antonio Bonilla, and Councillor María Fernández, were present at the stone laying ceremony for the new 300 m2 R&D centre which Koppert Spain is building on this site.

Commitment to natural solutions

Research into microorganisms that are beneficial to agriculture will be one of the key activities to be developed at the new R&D centre. This will strengthen Koppert’s commitment to microbiology, a field of research in which the company has already achieved major successes.

The identification of fungi and bacteria which naturally increase the growth and productivity of plants, while strengthening the natural resilience of crops against diseases that are mainly transmitted through the root, form the basis for a range of Koppert’s seed, soil and plant enhancement products.

There will be a second laboratory for entomological research (insects) and an area devoted to quality control for all the biological products which Koppert sells in Spain. The new facilities, which will open in about six months, will also have offices for researchers, a meeting and training room, a kitchen, and communal areas.

The new R&D centre will have sufficient space to accommodate both permanent staff and visitors.

The new building will be self-sufficient in terms of energy, relying on solar and wind power, and will be constructed with materials that take maximum advantage of the light and Mediterranean climate to minimise its environmental impact.