A trial for a new fertilizer concept by B+H Solutions GmbH in gerbera at Schouten Opti-Fleurs has turned out well. What’s more, the crop is now more vigorous, less susceptible to stress, and more resilient, with a significant increase in the number of flowers per m2. Sendot’s sensors provide proof that the photosynthesis efficiency of the plant increases significantly soon after the first application.
Robert Zuyderwijk and Erwin Gräfe
Some years ago, B+H Solutions, a German manufacturer of fertilizers, came on the market with so-called Nano fertilizers. These fertilizers, which contain, among other things, minute quantities of silver, iron, calcium, and copper, must be dripped along with the water. The effect of these fertilizers is manifested in photosynthesis. This has first been proven in various cultures (e.g., olives and avocados), then in growing greenhouse vegetables, and now also in growing cut flowers.
This leaf sensor measures photosynthesis
For this, Robert Zuyderwijk, B+H Solutions’ representative in the Netherlands, first had to get a proper foothold. More or less by chance, he joined a presentation by Erwin Gräfe of Sendot, which develops sensors that can be used to measure how active a plant is (i.e., whether it produces sugars). Promoting this plant activity is exactly what the nano fertilizers promise to do and for which the photosynthesis meter should be able to provide ‘proof.’
Application of the Nano fertilizers also results in a better-branched root system
After this event, they set up a series of trials, including this one at Schouten Opti-Fleurs. “A practical trial is important,” Robert knows, “because the grower himself has to take part. Weather conditions and natural plant characteristics influence the measurement results, and as a researcher, you are not necessarily able to interpret them. A gerbera, for instance, needs 11 weeks before more production becomes visible because the plant first produces an extra leaf from which the extra flower can grow. So when we repeatedly measured up to 30% more yield, and the grower was able to verify and explain that himself using Sendot’s data analysis, we could count on his interest.”
A tank with the Nano fertilizer, which is dripped along with the regular watering
Same result with less light
Schouten will soon be applying the fertilizers to his entire farm. The findings are supported by earlier trials in roses at, among others, a rose grower in De Lier and at De Ruiter Innovations in Amstelveen, where good results were also achieved. Depending on the rose variety, 10 to 30% more stems are harvested. Because the Nano fertilizers primarily stimulate photosynthesis, the growers can also do with less lighting. This is, of course, interesting from an energy point of view and therefore in terms of costs. Last winter has shown that up to 25% can be saved on energy to achieve the same crop results.
Opti Fleur’s colorful greenhouse
“This is also a great project for Sendot,” concludes Erwin. “It proves that our sensors are really made to be used in a greenhouse. They are handy and give an insight into how the plant develops. An experiment like this illustrates that. The fact that the results are positive in this case is nice, of course, but for us, that is basically a side issue. It does, however, show that generating and interpreting data on the development and activity of the plant can help a grower raise his cultivation to a higher level.”
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B+H Solutions GmbH