INTEGRATED FLOWERBULB PRODUCTION ON SANDY SOILS IN THE NETHERLANDS

R. Stokkers
Over the past decades farming systems have been developed in flowerbulb culture, in which labour- and knowledge-intensive methods have been gradually replaced by capital-intensive methods. From 1950 on this development has been made possible by the introduction of mechanization, pesticides and fertilizers on a large scale. As a result production stabilized at a high level, quantitatively as well as qualitatively. However, the consequences for the environment were less favourable. Because of the emission of pesticides and fertilizers, the natural production factors soil and water were polluted.

Therefore, the Dutch government has proclaimed as the policy on agriculture for the next decade: the transformation to a competitive, ecological and sustainable agriculture. In so-called integrated farming systems these three goals are equally important.

In order to effectuate this policy, a system of laws and regulations is being or will be introduced. The use of pesticides in flowerbulb culture has to be reduced by 60 percent in 2000, ecologically unacceptable pesticides will be prohibited and the amount of nutrients supplied to the crop should almost balance the amount of nutrients substracted by the crop. By reducing the input, the losses of pesticides and minerals to the environment will be restricted as well.

Research is expected to contribute to the introduction of integrated farming systems by conducting farming systems research (FSR). In FSR economical, ecological and technical aspects and subsequent interactions are studied on farm level in order to develop and optimize integrated farming systems. The approach is knowledge-intensive and synthetic; modern and ancient methods and techniques will be introduced or reintroduced.

FSR aimed at the flowerbulb culture on sandy soils in The Netherlands has started in 1990. It is expected that the use of pesticides can be reduced by 80 percent in 2000 and that the input of nutrients will almost be balanced by the output, while flowerbulb culture can remain economically competitive. However, not all critical pesticides are banned from the conducted FSR yet. Much more basic research has to be done to make the substitution of these pesticides by ecologically acceptable pesticides or methods possible.

Stokkers, R. (1992). INTEGRATED FLOWERBULB PRODUCTION ON SANDY SOILS IN THE NETHERLANDS. Acta Hortic. 325, 325-332
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.1992.325.42
https://doi.org/10.17660/ActaHortic.1992.325.42
farming systems research, integrated farming systems, flowerbulb production, economy, ecology

Acta Horticulturae