SESVanderHave Innovation Center (SVIC)

 

SESVanderHave opens a new €20m state-of-the-art sugar beet research centre

 

Quicker, easier, more reliable

Rob Van Tetering, CEO of SESVanderHave, explains why the SVIC is so important to the company: “Farmers in more than fifty countries from Russia to America grow our seeds. This geographical distribution affects the varieties of our sugar beets. We are referring to differences in climate, soil and diseases. In the SVIC we can analyse all these factors in their finest details and simultaneously offer a custom-made solution. In addition, regardless of weather or season, we operate independent climate control in each compartment. This renders a more homogeneous growth of our young plants as they are not ‘disturbed’ by the vagaries of the weather.”
“All the new technologies applied in the SVIC enable an even quicker study of even more young plants: consequently, we can develop new varieties almost twice as quickly, which makes a huge difference.”

 

Photo by N.V. Studiebureau RIMANQUE

 

An investment of 20 million euros

The size of the SVIC equals four football fields, it has 13,000 m2 of glasshouses and nearly 2000 m2 of laboratories. Furthermore, it is a new home to various research departments, such as the breeding department and the disease research laboratory. Gerhard Steinrücken, R&D Director says, “these are the departments which need most space, because many young plants have to be investigated in a climate-controlled glasshouse. This is why the entire complex of buildings is so large. In both cases the teams will perform up to three times more tests. It will be a further benefit to research work: the more plants we can investigate, the more qualitative the results.

 

 

Sugar beet research 2.0

Gerhard Steinrücken: “The SVIC offers none other than first-class technology under glass. It is one of the most innovative glasshouses in our industry. A significant part of this investment is therefore set aside for the latest high-tech investigation methods. The automation of different procedures enables us to work faster, and innovative biotechnology even allows us to perform a complete analysis of sugar beet DNA. This is sugar beet research 2.0.”

 

Photo by Steven Massart

 

First-class technology and ecology go hand in hand

The SVIC also represents sophisticated sustainable strategies. “I can demonstrate this by means of some impressive figures”, says CEO van Tetering. “The SVIC catches more than 8 million litres of rainwater, which we can re-use to water our plants. We use LED lamps that are 400% more economical than existing lamps. In addition, we take great care that our glasshouses do not cause much inconvenience to those working and living around us: our black-out screens reduce light pollution to an absolute minimum.”

 

 

Confident about the future, even after 2017

SESVanderHave can refine their research further thanks to this high-tech complex of buildings. Van Tetering: “The SESVanderHave Innovation Center is critical to our company and the sugar industry. It will enable us to market new and better varieties more quickly, such as sugar beets that give a higher yield, are more resistant to disease and less reliant on pesticides. It demonstrates that SESVanderHave believes in the sugar beet, in spite of the pending abolition of the quota, due in 2017.”

 

 

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