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In Focus

Current focal points

Peat-reduced cultivation and growing media

We test substrate components that appear to be suitable peat substitutes for the horticulture industry. In order to implement these new products, production systems have to be adapted to the new components of the growing media.

Soil blocks for seedlings: In order to form soil blocks, a sufficient amount of peat is necessary. By how much can this be reduced without compromising the quality of the blocks or the seedlings?

Organic cultivation: Organic fertilisers are used in organic farming. Our farming trials and analyses help to optimise fertilisation using peat-reduced substrates.

Peat substitutes: Switzerland imports about half a million cubic meters of peat every year. It is hoped that this will be reduced by finding less problematic substitutes, and ecological studies are underway to determine the viability of these substitutes. In cultivation trials, we test the suitability of these substitutes for use in plant production.

Further Information: Guido Kunz

Modern technology in the culture laboratory

In the cultivation laboratory, we test new technologies that have the potential to not only change the climate in greenhouses, but also the way in which this is monitored and controlled in the future.

Absorber with random packings: Developed by the ZHAW Institute of Energy Systems and Fluid Engineering (IEFE), this technology is designed to regulate the microclimate directly around plants without influencing the entire greenhouse.

Sensors for environmental parameters: Students at the ZHAW Institute of Embedded Systems (InES) have developed a monitoring system that records a greenhouse’s environmental parameters in real time and makes them externally accessible.

Farmbot: The Farmbot collects plant data from part of a crop for comparison with other measurement techniques.

Further Information: Monika Hutter