Always at the Avant-Garde of innovation, Idromeccanica Lucchini has established over the years several collaborations with universities and research institutions. One of the most profitable collaborations, since 2017, is that with CIV: the Italian Consortium of Nurseries (Consorzio Italiano Vivaisti)
What is CIV
The Consorzio Italiano Vivaisti is a world-renowned company that deals with research and development of new varieties of apples, strawberries, pears and rootstocks. Formed by the union of the Salvi Group, the Mazzoni Group and the Tagliani Group, CIV develops projects of varietal innovation of excellence to offer high quality products on the fruit market, paying attention to sustainability and respect for the environment. Founding member of the New Variety Network (INN), which promotes the exchange, evaluation and marketing of new fruit varieties, CIV has been collaborating with Idromeccanica Lucchini for several years, especially for the study and marketing of new varieties of strawberries.
Experimenting on strawberry
Strawberry is a particularly refined fruit in Northern Europe and England. The poor quality of traditional products, which focus essentially on weight and color and very little on taste and sweetness, allowed a large market space to be created due to the demand of those Northern European consumers who are looking for a smaller and higher quality product. Being able to create varieties of strawberries with excellent organoleptic characteristics, capable of growing in different environments and as eco-friendly as possible, requires precise and delicate studies and the greenhouse environment is the only one that can guarantee the best conditions both for the experimentation and for the production of new varieties. The greenhouse must in fact be able to simulate different climatic habitats to bring the varieties of strawberries to the limit of the resistance of the plant and to understand which crossings between different species can give the best yield for each specific climate.
The collaboration between Idromeccanica Lucchini and CIV was born thanks to the rural development plan and contributions for research and development. From a first consultation on the renovation of old plants, the mutual trust between Lucchini and CIV has grown over time, up to the installation of greenhouses for an area of over 3000 square meters. The model used for the variety experimentation of strawberries is the Atlantic TS with single span: very traditional greenhouse, with side wall of 2 meters. The Atlantic TS has been customized for the specific needs of CIV:
• Protection against atmospheric agents (hail)
• Protection against pathogens and insects
• Natural ventilation
• Proper lighting
To be able to satisfy every need, the greenhouses have been covered, on the ridge, with a film diffused light that allows a proper insolation management at any latitude, while perimeter nets have been laid anti insect and aphids to create a continuous air flow and protect crops at the same time. In this way it is possible to maintain the simulated temperature of the open field, but at the same time it is possible to guarantee a protected environment for the strawberry plants. To further protect the plants and to avoid contaminating the experimental area, a vestibule with air filter has been added, which allows workers to enter the greenhouse without contaminating the environment.
A marketing boom for strawberry
The varietal crossings created and patented thanks to Idromeccanica Lucchini greenhouses are made in soil-less substrates. After 60 days of growth of the seedlings, they are sold in special substrates to growers who can then finish the ripening process in the open field or greenhouse with controlled parameters. Nurseries create new varieties through strategic crossings between existing varieties to meet the needs of particular markets with difficult climates or other specific needs. Once the ideal variety for the reference market has been created, it is patented and marketed. The patent becomes a real brand that the end customer requires and is willing to pay because it recognizes the properties and its high quality. A key example in northern Europe is the Murano strawberry, which has been triumphating in the market, including the large-scale distribution market, for five years now. Created on the need to grow in a Scandinavian climate, Murano is very sweet and able to thrive in particularly cold climates and, cultivated mainly outside the ground, can bloom several times during the year.
A product creating customer loyalty
The fulfillment of all customer expectations has led to a close loyalty over the years and to an international success. The achievement of this result is a source of particular pride for Idromeccanica Lucchini. All the technology needed for the entire supply chain is made in Italy and provided by Idromeccanica Lucchini, which follows the project not only at the hardware level, but also from the agronomic point of view.