Putting the plant’s needs first
Maxime Very is a specialist in cucumber production and Cultivation Manager of the French SAS Chavanne. He values the quality of Prestige, a slab that lets him cultivate his plants according to their needs, without worrying about the substrate’s water content.
After five years with the company, Maxime Very took on the role as Cultivation Manager a year ago.
Managed by Gilles Pommier, the company is a member of the grower’s association, Kultive Val de Seine (formerly La Casay). Apart from the 1,500 m2 of tomato production, today the company specialises in cucumber cultivation using soilless greenhouses, covering a little more than 5 ha of surface area. The oldest greenhouses were built in 1970 and were raised in 1989.
The newest greenhouse was built at the beginning of the 1990s. Harvesting lasts from February to mid-October and cultivation takes place as two successive plantings per year. The first Prestige slab trials were conducted in 2017 (0.5 ha) and were compared with Grotop Expert 10 (cm) high slabs. We chose higher slabs (10 cm) because we wanted a substrate that retained its humidity longer in the slab’s top layers with a better, faster resaturation capacity, simplifying our irrigation strategies. The results were positive and the trials were rerun on 2 ha in 2018.
Guarantee robust new root development
As early as April, Maxime Very witnessed the same results that were seen in 2017: better root development right to the top of the slab and a broader control range. This year, between planting and the beginning of harvests, plants cultivated on Prestige slabs received less frequent watering while the amount of water they received remained the same. As warm weather approaches, the Prestige slabs should allow us to decrease the amount of water we use in irrigation. “Thanks to the qualities of this new slab, I plan to stretch out my irrigation sessions while using the same amount of of water, especially during the second crop. Prestige slabs offer a better control range of the water content so that the grower can base their irrigation strategy on the plant’s needs. Other types of slabs don’t offer this advantage and growers are sometimes required to irrigate just to maintain the substrate’s WC and EC levels”, explains Maxime Very. As it happens, at the start of the season, Very noticed better EC and pH stability with Prestige. Furthermore, Maxime Very relies on the power of the Prestige slab for active root growth throughout substrate right until the end of the crop. Actually, the cucumber plant systematically loses some of its roots when fruit set is heavy. The plant is then capable of growing new roots once fruit is removed. “With Prestige, these new roots can easily develop into the top of the slabs right up until the end of the season” concludes Maxime Very.