A true asset of our research centre is an infrastructure perfectly aligned with the needs of the different crops which are grown at our field trials, and the variety of existing growing systems. This includes the cultivation of mushrooms, greenhouse cultivation, the forcing of Brussels chicory and even aquaculture.
We have 13 ha of trial plots of traditional farming and a pilot farm for organic farming which has 12 ha of trial plots. The pilot farm for organic farming is completely managed according the regulations of organic farming. This ensures a strict separation from crops grown by traditional farming.
Seven growing cells are used for the research in growing white mushrooms on pasteurized compost.
We work with a tray system while most mushroom growers in the Benelux use a shelf system. Our tray system has more possibilities to perform specific trials and the results are sufficiently representative with other mushroom growing systems.
Mushroom farm 2
This facility consists of 5 growing cells and 7 tunnels for the preparation of the compost. It is primarily used for research in growing mushrooms, other than white mushrooms, mostly oyster mushrooms.
In the tunnels the compost is pasteurized and conditioned. These tunnels can be split into different compartments if different treatments are required.
The leek peeling system can be used for traditional and organic grown leek. Leek is cut, peeled and washed with this system. Recirculation of the washing water makes re-use possible.
To ensure the re-use of water, the organic matter (root rests and plant rests) is mechanically separated through a grid or sieve and the soil particles are removed in a clarification basin.
Brussels chicory hangar
Two cold rooms are used for the preservation of Brussels chicory roots. After the preservation the roots can be forced (hydroculture) in 4 growing cells. Each cell has a capacity of 8 stacks of maximum 7 trays, where each stack can be fed separately.
For trials on pest management or fertilization, we have a separate forcing unit.
The treatment of the roots, prior to storage or treatment of the root collar after preservation, is done with a special spraying tunnel.
With a special balance the dry matter content (under water weight) of the potato is determined quickly. This parameter is correlated with the starch content and very important for the production of French fries and potato chips.
Whether or not potatoes are suitable for industrial fry baking is determined through a baking test (baking at 180°C for 3 minutes), followed by scoring the color of the French fries. The determination of suitability for potato chips is done in a similar way.
The moisture content of cereals is determined in an easy an fast way with a grain analysis computer. This parameter is especially important for the bulk storage of cereals. The higher the moisture content, the more drying is needed to make the cereal suitable for long term storage.
The greenhouse consists of 10 equal compartments of which the climate regulation is fully automated by a climate computer. There is a use of liquid fertilizers and the regulation of CO2 is independent from the heating of the greenhouse.
Re-use of the drainage water is possible by collecting in aboveground tanks and low pressure UV disinfection. Two compartments have a fully closed growing system which makes sure that there is no emission of fertilizer to the underground.
The central pesticide storage room which complies with national legislation. The pesticides are stored in an alphabetical order according to their type (fungicide, insecticide…). Traceability is ensured through a barcode labeling system linked with an automated computer program.
Storage room of back pack sprayers for field trials where maintenance, control and calibration are the key words of our quality management system.
Modern laboratory equipped with a cold storage room accessible 24h/24h for our clients. Our lab is equipped with different measuring apparatus for a large variety of analysis on water, soil, manure, plants etc.
An overview of available techniques: ICP-MS; ICP-AES; NIR; SFA; IC; HPLC; FIMS; automated titration; Kjeldahl digestion apparatus etc.
A small scale biogas plant dimensioned on a CHP (combined heat and power system) of 30 KWe which easily can be used for research in anaerobe fermentation. Our installation is equipped with all necessary sensors for an easy registration of in- and output.
Despite the small scale of the installation, it is representative with common practice so the test results can be extrapolated to larger bio plants.
Aquaculture research centre
This unit is currently under construction but can already be visited. When completely finished this unit will be used to perform research to freshwater fish production.
The unit will consist of a small commercial growing part, in which the necessary experience can be acquired. On the other hand, there will be a research unit where practically-orientated research will be conducted.
Our pilot farm for organic farming has 12 ha where arable crops as well as vegetables are grown according to the regulations of organic farming. A new hangar was built in 2011 and has its own leek peeling system and a number of cold rooms for preservation trials.
An orchard, hedges, edges of arable fields and flower edges make sure that the pilot farm is ecologically integrated.