Plantop's technically advanced blocks enable us to produce generative plants with the good re-growth potential our customers expect.

Like Grodan, the René Briand group is now in its fifties. The Nantes-based company specialising in market garden plants celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2018 and has just invested €27m in its production facilities.

The group has been owned since 2012 by Olivier Guerbet, successor to the founder René Briand. Confident in the future of French vegetable production, with its rich diversity and ability to meet market expectations, Olivier Guerbet has just made major investments to modernise his company and meet the needs of his customers. With the construction of 2 hectares of greenhouses at the historic site in Saint Julien de Concelles and 4.5 hectares at the new site in Orvault, some twenty kilometres away, the company now has a total of 19 hectares of greenhouses dedicated to Propagate production.

Including equipment, logistics space and cogeneration plants, the investment made over 3 years is almost equivalent to the company's annual sales (€30m). That's enough to secure the production of 315 million propagates a year, with 47 species and 4,000 different varieties!

The historic Saint-Julien-de-Concelles site will remain more versatile than the Orvault site, which is mainly dedicated to above-ground propagation. The new greenhouse is equipped with a concrete sub-irrigation system, enabling the young plants to be watered by soaking, using an ebb and flow mechanism comparable to the phenomenon of the tides. Each chapel is managed individually. The water filtration, cleaning and UV treatment processes chosen are among the best in the world. The fully concreted surfaces make it easy to implement state-of-the-art mechanisation. Already the national market leader, the René Briand group is consolidating its technological lead.

Today, the majority of the above-ground plants produced by the company are grown on Plantop cubes. This choice is not only reserved for customers who use Grodan slabs. René Briand and Grodan are long-standing partners. "Relations are easy with both the French team and our Dutch contacts," says Olivier Guerbet. "For us, delivery planning is an important point that determines the reliability of our work. But the quality of our relationship with Grodan is not limited to logistics. The Plantop blocks are technically high-performance, enabling us to produce generative plants with the good re-growth potential that our customers expect. We also appreciate the technical support service offered by Grodan, in particular the discussions with Thomas Peters, who brings his specialist eye to bear on our production systems and suggests solutions for optimum use of the Plantop cube. The International Propagation Seminar organised each year by Grodan is also an important event for us, which we try to attend as often as possible. The presentations are always relevant and the topics always topical."