Research and Development Services
The Research and Development Department of Burés Profesional, S.A. plays a key role in the activity of our company. It is equipped with the most advanced analysis and research systems, and it is formed by a team of specialists whose goals are clear: to offer products of the highest quality and to launch innovative products on the market that will enable our customers to improve their performance levels in the activities they carry out.
To this end, an area of the R&D Department has been specially prepared for conducting greenhouse growing trials, under real growing conditions.
Our R&D goals are also furthered through the research agreements we have signed with official organizations to evaluate the behaviour of new products.
Clearly, there is a need at present to carry out all activities –in this case agricultural activity– with ecological criteria in mind, showing the greatest respect for the environment.
To this end, Sicosa’s new product R&D Department is conducting a study of cultivation systems –use of raw materials, irrigation management systems, biological pest control, etc.– that prevent the appearance of phytopathological problems in crops or which make it possible to combat them with natural agents.
The ultimate aim is to minimize the use of phytosanitary products.
To be specific, the study is being made of the fungus Trichoderma harzianum in CULTIVATOR grow bags. Trichoderma harzianum is a saprophyte, which shows effective antagonistic action against the attack of pathogenic fungi on crops where it develops. Fungi belonging to this genus activate plant and particularly root growth, and they increase the resistance of the crop to possible attack by pathogens.
In out-of-ground cultivation systems and systems with organic substrate, irrigation management is one of the most important production factors. It may even be said that the watering frequency and the doses applied are as important or more important than the nutrient solution itself.
The aim of initial irrigation will be to help the seedling to root and the roots to expand across the entire substrate in the grow bag. This is why low watering frequencies and doses are recommended.
Once this first cultivation stage has come to an end, watering needs to take place more often and for longer. It must always be remembered that irrigation management depends on the EC (electrical conductivity) of the water collected from drainage.
To avoid possible salinization or an increase in EC in the organic substrate of the grow bag, it is extremely advisable to obtain a volume of drainage water of around 25-30% of the irrigation water.
Here is an example of what we have explained: if watering takes place with water of 0.9 dS/m (EC), having added the fertilizers, its conductivity increases by around 0.6 dS/m; thus we have a drip outlet EC of 1.4-1.6 dS/m, and in this case the EC of the drainage water could be 2-2.2 dS/m. Following the example, the procedure could be established of increasing the irrigation time when the drainage water reaches an EC value of close to 3 dS/m.
In highly simplified form, we may outline 4 strategies for irrigation control (Malorgio, 1996):
- Irrigation management is simply regulated according to a pre-established programme of irrigation frequency and volume. There is an appreciable improvement when the volume and EC of the drained solution is measured manually or automatically.
- Starting from the estimation of crop evapotranspiration based on climatic factors such as radiation, temperature, air humidity and pressure deficit by means of empirical models. The Department of Agricultural Plant Biology at the University of Pisa developed an empirical model for estimating the transpiration of strawberry plants grown in peat and perlite. Using this model, maximum transpiration was found in the period of May-June and September-October of 0.25-0.3 litres/plant/day.
- Determination of crop evapotranspiration measured directly in test plants by means of an electronic balance connected through interfaces to a computer.
- Determination of the water potential of the substrate; irrigation is performed when the substrate humidity level drops below a certain value. The water content of the substrate is determined by means of a tensiometer. In collaboration with Lapton Control de Riego, Burés Profesional, S.A. is perfecting this irrigation control system in the Cultivator grow bags.
Technical Department of Burés Profesional SA
The effect of the pine bark has been evaluated according to its level of composting.
During the months of January and February, substrates in the RT50 and RT30 series based on composted pine bark and sphagnum peat moss have been tested and compared with the same substrates using pine bark with a low level of composting, in a short-cycle plant, namely Viola sp.
The test was performed with the 4x4 Latin square method with 4 repetitions of each of the four substrates tested under normal growing conditions. The measurements taken at the end of the test –fresh weight, height, width, no. buds, flowers and dry flowers– were statistically processed using analysis of variance with a significance level of 95%.
The results revealed that the best behaviour of the RT50 substrates with respect to measurements of fresh weight, dry weight, width and height was achieved with both composted and semi-composted pine bark. On the other hand, with regard to the substrates with a higher percentage of pine bark –RT30– these behaved better with composted rather than semi-composted pine bark.
Below are details of the average dry weight measurements, together with a comparison after statistical processing. The dry weight parameter is the most representative compared with all the others, due to the high reliability of the measurement.