The Flanders Research Institute for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (ILVO) performs multidisciplinary, innovative and independent research aimed at economically, ecologically and socially sustainable agriculture and fisheries. Building on more than 85 years of fundamental and applied research experience, ILVO can count on the expertise and knowledge of almost 600 employees and a large infrastructure: 200 hectares of experimental fields, 15,000 m² of glasshouses, more than 20,000 m² of experimental animal housing, and so on. In addition, ILVO has test benches, a pilot milk installation and a pilot food processing plant, a seed reception and processing unit, and many analysis and detection labs, a diagnostic centre and accredited laboratories for plants, animal feed, spray technology, food and GMOs.
Crop protection is one of the main themes in the Agricultural Engineering and Plant Sciences unit. Some examples of current research topics and ILVO expertise:
- The study and identification of bacteria, fungi, viruses, nematodes, insects and mites which may infest plants. Also on a molecular level: ILVO uses state-of-the-art molecular techniques to diagnose, identify and study the ecology of plant pathogens.
- Efficient techniques to trace and contain these pathogens, including early detection techniques.
- Control strategies: preventive control (e.g. soil management for crop disease resistance), reduction of and alternatives for synthetic pesticides, optimization of integrated pest management (IPM).
- Innovative spraying techniques: ILVO has internationally renowned expertise in evaluation and optimization of pesticide and fertilizer application technologies, with an emphasis on more sustainable application methods.
- Spray tech lab: ILVO is also responsible for the mandatory inspection of sprayers in Flanders and has a BELAC-accredited spray tech lab, capable of performing the most cutting-edge measuring techniques.
- Robot and drone technology: ILVO recently started test flights with a spray drone on its own fields (using water to test the potential of drones for more precise application).
- Remote sensing, image engineering and advanced data communication and processing for smart precision farming and crop protection.
- Measures and innovative techniques to reduce dust drift from pesticide seed dressing during sowing.
During the visit, ILVO experts will explain and demonstrate their work. A guided tour around the Diagnostic Centre for Plants (DCP), the engineering atelier with spray drone and spray technique lab in small groups is possible.
More information about ILVO can be found on the website https://www.ilvo.vlaanderen.be/language/en-US/EN/Home.aspx
More about ILVOs research on crop protection can be found here https://www.ilvo.vlaanderen.be/language/en-US/EN/Research/Crop-Protection.aspx#.W7TXpmgzZaQ
And more about ILVOs engineering expertise can be found here https://www.ilvo.vlaanderen.be/language/en-US/EN/Research/Agricultural-Engineering.aspx#.W7TeL2gzZaQ