In April Wageningen UR has made a start with the ‘Healthy Greenhouse’ programme. Research organisations and industry in the border region between Germany and the Netherlands are collaborating in this project. Interreg (an EU initiative to make borders fade), German and Dutch governments and the industry are jointly making over ten million euro available. Wageningen UR is ‘lead partner’ and is responsible for coordination of the programme.
A consortium of Dutch and German research organisations and companies will in the next four years be collaborating in the development of a sustainable pest and disease management system in modern greenhouse horticulture. Various techniques for timely detection and efficient counteraction of pests and diseases will be combined in this system. This Interreg programme recognises the significance of greenhouse horticulture in the Greenport Venlo region and the Lower Rhine agrobusiness and is stimulating innovation in horticultural supply in the Dutch-German border region.
Carolien Zijlstra of Plant Research International (PRI) of Wageningen UR will be coordinating the Healthy Greenhouse project. She stresses the importance of establishing links between technologies: “Modern greenhouses are large and detection and control of pests and diseases is becoming increasingly difficult. There are all sorts of sensors on the market but the grower can do nothing with the separate instruments. An observation also needs proper interpretation and this must in turn be followed by the right decision and efficient control measures. The project will therefore be focusing on combining and matching technologies.”
The Healthy Greenhouse project should yield a crop protection system that enables growers to better control their pests and diseases with fewer chemicals in modern greenhouses. Setting up a demonstration greenhouse in the region and on the Floriade in 2012 in Venlo and showing the system at the IPM 2015 in Essen are envisaged.
Within Wageningen UR, scientists of the Business Units ‘Bio-interactions and Plant Health’, ‘Agrosystems Research’, ‘Biometris’ and ‘Greenhouse Horticulture’ and the Chair Group ‘Mathematical and Statistical Methods’ of Wageningen University will be collaborating in this project. Other partners in the consortium are: Landwirtschaftskammers (NRW, Niedersachsen), research institutes (Gartenbauzentrum Straelen, ZEPP, Forschungszentrum Jülich), universities (Bonn, Hannover), Fachhochschule Osnabrück, suppliers of crop protection products, suppliers of greenhouse technology, producers of sensors, test laboratories, and suppliers of substrate.