Soiltech, developer and producer of liquid foliar nutrition products and biostimulants, has started construction of a high-tech Test and Innovation Centre at its main site in Biezenmortel, in The Netherlands. This building will have a size of 30 x 20 m and include greenhouses and test rooms. These should further strengthen Soiltech as a top innovative player that helps agriculture with new products for sustainable solutions.
Future-proof crop nutrition
Soiltech develops professional foliar nutrition products, known as Optima. These are not only highly efficient, but also easy to combine with other agents, and are composed of raw materials that are future-proof from an environmental point of view. To achieve that, a lot of testing capacity is needed. Already since 2016, Soiltech has been carrying out many crop trials year-round in a rented test greenhouse in Limburg (NL). To perform even better tests, this new Soiltech-owned test greenhouse will be equipped with some high-tech installations. For instance, screen installations and a special climate control system ensure that conditions can be fully simulated as they (may) occur in practice in the field. This allows Soiltech to predict what the products will do in practice. The extreme weather conditions that arable and horticulture are increasingly facing as a result of climate change can also be simulated. Soiltech develops products that help crops through such extreme periods. In effect, these are solutions to make food farming climate-adaptive. Agriculture is looking for these kinds of solutions in The Netherlands and abroad. The ambitions are therefore - European - international.
Renewable raw materials for potting soil
Sister company Van Iersel produces various types of compost and related products at the same location in Biezenmortel and at its 3 other production sites in The Netherlands. In recent years, there has been increasing interest in these products from the potting soil industry, because the demand in food horticulture for organic substrate is growing fast, also as a result of sustainability ambitions. Indeed, the potting soil industry wants to replace an increasing share of peat in their potting soil mixes with renewable raw materials. Peat is a fossil raw material and its extraction releases a lot of extra CO2 into the atmosphere, which is not desirable in view of global warming. Moreover, this raw material often has to come from far away. Therefore, this industry is looking for locally produced and more sustainable raw materials. This creates new opportunities for Van Iersel to produce new products, but these need to be tested, and this is perfectly possible in this new research facility.
Sustainable and gas-free
The new Test and Innovation Centre will of course be built as sustainably as possible, and it will be completely gas-free. Heating will be done with heat pumps that run on energy from the solar panels the company has already amply installed last year. The part of the Test and Innovation Centre situated behind the greenhouses will also be fitted with solar panels.
The complex is being built by contractor Maurice Kassenbouw/Ammerlaan (greenhouse construction), in collaboration with consultancy and design firm Aelmans Tuinbouw Advies and Cogas Climate Control, which is providing heating, water and electrical installations. They will make every effort in the coming months to deliver the complex by May 1st 2023.