Aquaculture for all

Seaweed biostimulant to be used in carrot and barley farming trial

Sustainability Post-harvest Seaweed / Macroalgae +4 more

A seaweed-based biostimulant which is designed to reduce chemical inputs, improve soil health and make crops more resilient, is being trialled by the Colruyt Group.

a seaweed farm
The Seaweed Company's farm in Clew Bay, Ireland

The startup has its own seaweed production locations in Morocco, India and the Netherlands too © The Seaweed Company

The use of this 'TopHealth Plants' organic biostimulant is being undertaken as part of a project in cooperation with The Seaweed Company, in which Colruyt Group holds a minority stake. If the results are positive, Colruyt Group – which has a chain of retail outlets in Belgium and France – wants to scale up the use of the biostimulant on its own farms.

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 the liquid biostimulant will take place on the company’s own carrot and barley fields in Moustier - both before sowing and several times during the growing process.

“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,” said Saskia De Block, responsible for agriculture at Colruyt Group, in a press release.

Soil health is likely to 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 extract appears to improve nutrient uptake and increase crop growth performance under stressed and normal conditions. TopHealth Plants biostimulant also aims to help improve soil carbon uptake, water-holding capacity and resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses.

“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,” said Ingrid Jonker of The Seaweed Company.

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