ILVO - Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research, Belgium

The Research Institute for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (ILVO) is a Flemish Scientific Institute and as such belongs to the Flemish Government’s Agriculture and Fisheries policy area. The mission of ILVO consists of both performing and coordinating policy-supporting (aimed at the Flemish Region) scientific research and the associated public service to promote sustainable agriculture and fisheries from an economic, ecological and social perspective. The Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research is a multidisciplinary research institution with 4 research units: Plant Sciences, Animal Sciences, Technology and Food Science, and Social Sciences.

In this project, two groups within the Plant Sciences unit will be involved: Crop Husbandry & Environment, and Plant Health. Crop Husbandry & Environment research aims to improve yield and high-quality, sustainable plant production with respect for people, animals and the environment. ILVO optimizes and evaluate (new) crop husbandry techniques (rotations, new crops, soil management, nutrients) and seed processing techniques. They develop sustainable soil management and organize official variety testing. Some interface exists between crop husbandry and environment/nature. Plant Health research includes acarology, bacteriology, entomology, mycology, nematology and virology. The main topics are: (i) the reliable identification and typing of pathogens and beneficial soil organisms, (ii) better knowledge of the plant-pathogen relation, and (iii) developing alternative crop protection strategies using IPM in various plant cultivation systems. These alternative protection strategies include soil- and substrate management to control soil-borne pathogens and to increase disease resistance. The Plant Sciences Unit is equipped with many analysis and detection labs, including BELAC accredited labs (EN ISO/IEC 17025) for determination of chemical properties on mineral soil and for plant disease diagnostics. In addition, it is involved in research projects concerning compost, soil management and fertilizer use and is experienced with standardized greenhouse and field trials to assess crop productivity and plant diseases.

Role in the project

Dr. ir. Koen Willekens of the research domain ‘Crop Husbandry & Environment’ of the Plant Sciences unit of ILVO will be work package 3 leader. Chemical soil and plant analyses of the Belgian trial, as well as the nematode community assessment will be performed at ILVO. The latter will be under the guidance of prof. dr.ir. Nicole Viaene, group leader of Nematology, Plant Health, ILVO.