Sustainable soil management 

Good soil quality is increasingly becoming the main focal point. A resilient soil is a healthy soil; the best starting point for healthy cultivation!

A resilient soil is related to quite a few indicators. Take, for example, organic matter or fungi, bacteria and other organisms that can make a positive contribution. 

Sustainable soil management is currently being researched from various angles. HLB is the initiator and/or partner in numerous projects. The following projects are currently underway under the sustainable soil management theme. 

Good soil quality is being given more and more attention in today’s arable farming. To map out and improve soil quality, drawing up a soil quality plan (SoQP) is advisable. The project aims to develop a format for a soil quality plan for the Peat Colonial area. PPO’s draft BKP plan is the starting point for this.

The purpose of drawing up a fixed format for a soil quality plan is to give advisers and entrepreneurs better tools to analyse the quality and draw up an improvement plan. 

The result of the project is a BKP format for the Peat Colonial area and some 10 plot formats for plots with potato fatigue-virulence problems.

This project focuses on valorising green waste residual streams, or compost, through enrichment with micro-organisms or plant-related substances. The use of enriched compost as a soil improver is being investigated in field trials in both arable farming and horticulture. This looks at general soil and plant resistance and specific suppression of plant diseases.

Project partners in this project are: HLB BV, Bioclear Earth, Louis Bolk Institute, Ecostyle, Cees Ruhe. 

Looking at the soil differently

An integrated cultivation approach with alternatives to chemical crop protection is becoming increasingly important for sustainable and economically profitable cultivation in the current agricultural system. Attention to good soil quality with good disease resistance plays a major role. The problem is that it is not easy to identify what exactly determines soil quality and how it can be improved. Traditionally, agricultural land is mainly considered in terms of its chemical and physical properties and the presence of soil-borne diseases. In addition to a small proportion of pathogens, the soil also contains so-called “good soil life”, consisting of large quantities of fungi, bacteria, nematodes, worms and other organisms. This soil life plays an essential role in resisting diseases and releasing nutrients for plant growth. This project will provide more insight into soil life and physical and chemical properties concerning soil quality. 


New methods to measure soil quality

To diagnose the biological quality of the soil, we need new, smart measuring methods. For this, it is first necessary to collect data and map out which fungi, bacteria and nematodes belong to a healthy soil. When we know what healthy soil looks like, we can find out what measures can help to improve soil conditions. 

To collect usable data, in the coming years, both plots that are susceptible to outbreaks of soil diseases and those that are known to be resistant to soil diseases will be sampled. In these fields, the aim is to look not only into the presence of the disease in question, e.g. potato cyst nematodes, but also the presence of other nematodes and micro-organisms. This data is used to develop affordable indicator tests for the disease susceptibility of the soil. 

Project leader HLB: Anja Kombrink, Hilde Coolman

Project partners: HLB BV, Bioclear Earth, Mts Hoogterp, The Potato Valley

Duration: June 2019 – December 2022

Voor het verzamelen van bruikbare data zullen de komende jaren zowel percelen die gevoelig zijn voor het uitbreken van bodemziektes als percelen die bekend staan als weerbaar tegen bodemziektes worden bemonsterd. Op deze percelen wordt dan niet alleen gekeken naar het voorkomen van de betreffende ziekte, bijvoorbeeld aardappelcystenaaltjes, maar ook naar de aanwezigheid van overige aaltjes en micro-organismen. Aan de hand van deze data wordt gewerkt aan betaalbare indicatortesten voor de ziektegevoeligheid van de bodem.  

Projectleider HLB: Anja Kombrink, Hilde Coolman 

Projectpartners: HLB BV, Bioclear earth, Mts Hoogterp, The Potato Valley 

Looptijd: juni 2019 – december 2022