Initially, the production at the 13 ha Belgian tomato producer Truyenberg BVBA took place on stone wool substrate. But five years ago, grower Ben Nuyens decided to switch to coco. The grower continues to produce on this substrate material even today, since it has given him good results.
In 2007, Nuyens who produces the truss tomato Merlice from De Ruiter, decided to do a 1 hectare trial with coco substrate. “One reason we liked coco is lower costs compared to stone wool.” The pilot made it clear that not only were the costs lower, but more importantly, production was higher. Another advantage was the reduced pressure of botrytis. “Coco contains natural strains of Trichoderma, which strengthens plants and gives them better protection against botrytis”, explains Nuyens. After the pilot, the grower had no more doubts and decided in 2008 that he would produce all his tomatoes on coco substrate.
Nuyens buys the coco at Dutch Plantin since 2012. He is satisfied with this supplier since they support him well. The new substrate also improved the quality of tomatoes. According to Nuyens, this is caused by the lower Sodium content. “Dutch Plantin produces the coco in a special way which makes it steady and reduces the Sodium content to a minimum. That is important, because tomatoes don’t like salt.” Another advantage of the new substrate is the fine structure. As a result, the spells between watering are longer, which is good for the roots. “Earlier, there was so little time between watering that the substrate looked almost like hydroculture”, Nuyens says.
Tomatoes on coco substrate, planted at 3 January 2013
Tomatoes on coco substrate, planted 15 October 2012 under assimilation light.