Monday, April 24, 2023
Colruyt Group is using a seaweed-based biostimulant on its own farmland. The use of this 'TopHealth Plants' organic biostimulant on own land is a project in cooperation with The Seaweed Company, in which Colruyt Group holds a minority stake. The seaweed-based biostimulant has proven it can play an important role in reducing chemical inputs and should make the soil healthier and crops more resilient. Colruyt Group wants to gain experience with this project to - if the results are positive - scale up to other own farmland. In the long term, this application should have a positive impact on soil health and result in better yields for farmers.
Concrete collaboration with The Seaweed Company
Colruyt Group is collaborating with The Seaweed Company in a project on soil health. TopHealth Plants, an organic seaweed-based biostimulant that naturally improves soil quality and health is used. It increases plant growth and resilience and thus indirectly reduces the use of artificial fertilisers and pesticides. Colruyt Group will work with The Seaweed Company to study the applicability and benefits of using this biostimulant during the growing season. They will study whether the crops absorb the nutrients better and are thus healthier.
The application of this biostimulant on own farmland in Moustier is in collaboration with local farmers. TopHealth Plants will be used on plots where winter barley and carrots are grown. This biostimulant is applied before sowing and is repeated several times during the growing process. Part of the soil will not be treated with the biostimulant and will serve as a basis for comparison. “Our main goal is to learn what effect the biostimulant has on soil health and crop resilience. We're looking forward to the result so that we can hopefully scale up to our other farmland if positive. We also want to inspire other farmers with this project to make agriculture more sustainable,” says Saskia De Block, responsible for agriculture at Colruyt Group.
Investing in soil health to make agriculture more resilient
Soil health will be one of the most important issues in the coming decades: how do we grow sufficient food while meeting increasing demands with increasingly less agricultural land. Due to climate change, farmers today experience periods when the growing conditions of their crops are anything but optimal, including extreme temperatures, drought, flooding (resulting in mineral deficiencies or salt stress). Seaweed-based biostimulants can provide a solution to this by increasing the resilience of soil and crops. Seaweed extract appears to improve nutrient uptake and increase crop growth performance under stressed and normal conditions. Use of the TopHealth Plants biostimulant would also help improve soil carbon uptake, water-holding capacity, better resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses and this in combination with regenerative agricultural practices such as green manures, crop rotation and non-inversion tillage.
Role of seaweed and biostimulants in making agriculture more sustainable
Around the world, seaweed and seaweed extracts are being used as biostimulants in agriculture to promote plant growth, reduce stress impacts and improve the soil. Seaweed is increasingly used as an enhancer for various crops in agriculture, horticulture and fruit growing. The use of seaweed as a biostimulant is increasing because it can play an important role in making agriculture more sustainable. “Our company is experiencing a strongly increased demand for collaborative projects in the food value chain where the benefits and impact of the application of seaweed biostimulants are highly appreciated by the chain partners. Seaweed-based biostimulants represent the fastest growing biostimulants in the industry and offer great future prospects. ” says Ingrid Jonker of The Seaweed Company.