Discover the possibilities of innovation centre 'de Kas'

Publication date: 17-02-2021

Van der Knaap stands for innovative and high-quality products. Our innovation centre ‘de Kas’ in Honselersdijk (NL) houses our extensive R&D department with test greenhouses where various growing conditions can be simulated. In addition to extensive trials to test and optimise existing products and develop new products, trials are also carried out here on behalf of third parties (customers, growers).

When a trial is set up in practice, i.e. at a nursery on-site, it runs alongside normal production. In this situation it is usually not possible to adjust the cultivation strategy accordingly. This is where ‘de Kas’, Van der Knaap’s own test centre, offers a solution. Almost any desired cultivation situation can be set up in twelve separate test greenhouses and on an outdoor field.

Test greenhouses

In the test greenhouses, rooting and growth tests with substrate are carried out, but also studies into optimal fertilisation, irrigation, climate and lighting are possible. For this, our test greenhouses are equipped with the latest horticultural techniques. The tests are practice-oriented and are carried out in close collaboration with the customer. Our test greenhouses are accessible to anyone interested after making an appointment. However, it is also possible to conduct closed trials.

Several cultivation techniques often come together in one trial. That is why we work together with suppliers of, for example: trays, climate control, crop protection and alternative cultivation methods, such as ponds for hydroponics. The test setups can be adapted to the desired cultivation methods in consultation with the customer.

In addition to knowledge of our own products, our R&PD team and our horticultural advisers also have extensive cultivation knowledge. In addition, we make use of external crop consultants and maintain good contacts with renowned knowledge institutions, such as Delphy and WUR, in case a more scientific input is desired.

Laboratory

Also in 'de Kas' is the laboratory where a complete chemical and physical analysis of the water and soil samples can be carried out. During a chemical analysis the EC and pH values of the sample are ascertained. In addition, the main and trace elements present in the substrate and/or (drain) water samples can be determined by means of spectrometric equipment (ICP and CFA). The available physical analysis provide insight into the air-water ratio, water absorption rate, water retention and structure for optimal rooting and growth. With a growth test it can be investigated whether a substrate contains any harmful substances that hinder proper growth and development.

All research data is collected in a database. The data is used for trend analysis, making possible improvements visible. The laboratory falls under our ISO 9001:2015 certification and all analysis are carried out according to RHP guidelines.

Report

During the trials, all developments are closely followed by the R&PD team. Reports are submitted to the client on a regular basis and an extensive and precise report follows at the end of the investigation.

Can your cultivation be further optimised, but you do not have the facilities to conduct further research yourself? Please contact us at rd@vanderknaap.info or by phone +31 (0)174 296606.

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