Geoplant Aquasafe at the raspberry plantation in Serbia

Summary: The original plan was to establish sustainable raspberry plantations in Serbia, utilizing (a) solar-powered well irrigation and (b) incorporating GeoPlant Aquasafe to prevent unnecessary water and nutrient seepage beyond the reach of plant roots. This combination aimed to optimize crop yield while minimizing costs. Due to two unsuccessful well drilling attempts that did not yield usable water, the project unintentionally became a test to determine whether GeoPlant Aquasafe could sustain a raspberry field even without the recommended additional irrigation during the typically hot and dry summer months in Serbia, until the first harvest after two and a half years. The fact that a reasonably good harvest was achieved without any additional irrigation speaks in favor of GeoPlant Aquasafe (see details below).

Please note that I am an AI language model and do not have access to specific project details. The information provided is based on the context you provided.



In March 2017, a few kilograms of GeoPlant Aquasafe pellets made their way to West Serbia as a private gift among friends. West Serbia is known for being a major region for raspberry cultivation, as Serbia is the world's top exporter of raspberries and ranks fifth in total raspberry production (after Russia, the USA, Poland, and Mexico). The sample ended up in Ivanjica, a town in West Serbia.

There, a land-apothecary, an academically qualified agricultural expert who sells seeds, fertilizers, and other agricultural supplies to farmers, including those who analyze soil samples to determine individual needs, decided to conduct a test on his own raspberry plantation. In the spring, he created a furrow of about 100 meters in length and equipped half of it with GeoPlant Aquasafe pellets.

The intention was to observe the effects of GeoPlant Aquasafe on the raspberry plants in terms of water retention and nutrient supply. The land-apothecary wanted to see if the hydrogel could prevent unnecessary water and nutrient loss in the soil, ultimately optimizing the crop's yield and reducing costs.

This test served as an initial trial to gauge the potential benefits of GeoPlant Aquasafe on raspberry cultivation in the region. However, it is important to note that further observations and data over an extended period would be necessary to fully understand the long-term impact of GeoPlant Aquasafe on the raspberries.

Nevertheless, this small-scale test marked the beginning of exploring the potential of GeoPlant Aquasafe in West Serbia's raspberry farming, contributing to sustainable and resource-efficient irrigation and nutrient management practices.

 

The preliminary results of the test with GeoPlant Aquasafe were promising. Upon arrival in July, the images on the right side depicted a noticeable difference in plant growth between the area treated with GeoPlant Aquasafe pellets and the area without them. In the upper half of the image, where the furrow had been made and the pellets were applied along the main roots of the raspberry plants, there was a stronger and more vigorous growth compared to the lower half of the image, where no pellets were used

The lower half of the image showed the untreated area, where the growth was not as robust, and the plants had less space for growth. However, after the application of GeoPlant Aquasafe pellets, there was ample space for two people to stand side by side, even before the plants were tied up for support.

This visible "growth kick" observed in the experiment demonstrated the potential impact of using GeoPlant Aquasafe pellets in established raspberry plantations. It showed how the pellets could enhance new growth and improve the overall health of the plants.

Having such a practical demonstration of the effectiveness of an IDEA product was a rare and exciting experience for the representative of the manufacturer, especially considering that it was achieved without any theoretical persuasion or presentation. The representative was able to witness the positive results firsthand, which reinforced the value of GeoPlant Aquasafe and its potential application in agricultural settings.

In the spring of 2017, it looked like this: For the upper half of the raspberry bush row on this plantation, a furrow was made along the main roots to compare the effects of GeoPlant Aquasafe pellets. The purpose was to compare the growth of a approximately 100-meter-long row of bushes with the upper half treated with the product and the lower half untreated near the roots, under otherwise identical weather and irrigation conditions.



This constructive cooperation between the customer and the manufacturer led to a quick agreement to import a few tons of GeoPlant Aquasafe and apply it initially on raspberry plantations in Serbia (see also an article on LinkedIn). The administrative effort and costs for export and import were shared equally. Both sides did their best. And then the truck carrying GeoPlant Aquasafe arrived at the Serbian customs authorities responsible for importation.

After a thorough examination by the Institute for Plant Protection and Environment in Belgrade, which is affiliated with the Ministry of Agriculture, an import and application approval was finally granted for IDEA Patentverwertung UG (limited liability) for a period of 10 years – just in time to use GeoPlant Aquasafe for late autumn plantings of raspberry seedlings.

First plantings with GeoPlant Aquasafe in Serbia

The plan was to do this in western Serbia. However, by that time, there had already been a significant amount of snowfall. As a result, the planting was flexibly reorganized and initially conducted on 1 hectare of recently acquired land near Alibunar in northern Serbia. Northern Serbia is not considered an ideal growing area for raspberries, unlike western Serbia.

The accompanying skepticism of local agricultural experts was certainly present in the project. However, the following project plan was in place: (a) Compensation for any potential disadvantages of the location through the combination of solar-powered well irrigation and plant growth promotion with GeoPlant Aquasafe.

Upon the suggestion of agricultural engineer Milan Bošnjaković from Ivanjica, Serbia (http://bosnjakovic-agrar.rs/), the "bare" roots of the raspberry seedlings were dipped in a "suspension field soup" consisting of GeoPlant Aquasafe and Trichoderma strains before being transplanted. In addition, a total of 100 kg of GeoPlant Aquasafe fine granules were scattered in the planting furrows.

Background: Within the framework of approximately 40% annual crop losses due to heat and drought according to Serbian statistics, some of these losses are solely caused by wilt-inducing soil fungi. Therefore, we wanted to proactively address two issues at once. For more information on the combination of GeoPlant Aquasafe with microorganisms such as mycorrhiza or Trichoderma, please refer to the product information.

 


The following images mark milestones along the longer journey from planting at the end of November 2017 to the first harvest in June 2020:

Passing the customs border in Passau, the truck first arrived at the Serbian import customs office. The investigations at the Institute for Plant Protection and Environment, responsible for granting the application, were still ongoing.

Vast land near Alibunar in northern Serbia, approximately 40 km from the border with Romania.

The raspberry variety planted was Willamette.

Dipping the seedling roots in a suspension of GeoPlant Aquasafe fine granules and Trichoderma antidote soil fungi against wilt fungi.

Roots with granule suspension.

Arranging the individual seedlings from the bundles dipped in suspension.

With temperatures around 0°C and a fresh north wind, GeoPlant Aquasafe fine granules were manually scattered into the machine-dug planting furrows, and the seedlings, with their roots dipped in suspension, were planted into the soil after further manual soil loosening.

A well-deserved break in between.

Before the harvest in June 2020.

First raspberry harvest of 2020 in Alibunar, northern Serbia. Finally, reaching the goal!

Laborious harvest work for modest compensation...

This is what a box of harvested raspberries looks like...

Looking back in a slightly frustrated manner: One of two well drillings that, despite promising geological reports, ultimately did not hit water even at a depth of approximately 150 meters.

Instead, the second drilling flooded an experimental test plantation at the edge of the initially planted hectare, evaluating the dose-dependent and interaction effects of GeoPlant Aquasafe with a mixture of two Trichoderma strains (see pocket plan in the field). The establishment of new test fields there is already a done deal.


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