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A peek inside Cohen Propagation Nurseries

High propagation standards draw big breeders to Israel

After a busy summer of not only preparing for the new season, but also changing the computer system to PAT, all greenhouses of Cohen Propagation Nurseries will be in full production soon. The three farms of Cohen - that produce unrooted cuttings - are based in Israel in Kfar Hanagid, Nir Hen, and Gderot, which is their newest facility. FloralDaily had the chance to check out this facility.

Nomi Hen of Cohen in front of the mother stock at Gderot farm.

Cohen produces unrooted cuttings of many kinds of annuals and has been exporting them for over 30 years now. The main crops are petunia, calibrachoa, verbena, vinca, lobelia and nemesia, of which the majority they grow (70%) is private stock from large breeders like Dümmen Orange, Florensis, Syngenta and Danziger.

Elevated view of the greenhouses in Gderot farm.

Due to the restrictions from Africa, many breeders decided to import their products from Israel, and over the years, the demand for Cohen's unrooted cuttings has increased. "The biggest plus we have is the cleanliness of our material. We only work with certified material, and all over the world, growers and rooting stations come to see our processes, how clean and virus-free we work."

Entrance to Gderot farm

This is also the reason why they established the farm in Gderot. "We did not have enough space anymore to meet the demand. For this reason, we decided to expand." The farm in Gderot consists of 11 greenhouses, of which 8 were established 5 years ago and 3 over the last 3 years.

Strict regulations regarding clothing and cleaning before entering the greenhouse

Strict processes
"At these greenhouses, we only grow petunia and calibrachoa, as we try to separate the farms as much as possible by crop." At this site, there is one agronomist and as said before, high priority is given to the cleanliness of the material. "We have strict procedures for entering and leaving the greenhouse and the use of materials. The scalpel knife for example needs to be changed when going from one bench to another or one variety to another. All greenhouses have their own restroom and own packaging area. In this way, workers do not have to leave the greenhouse in between. Nothing will go out of the greenhouse without being packed. All greenhouses at Cohen's farms look the same and have the same procedures - only in the Nir Hen location, they have a central packaging area.

A bird's-eye view of Nir Hen.

In summer, the greenhouses are being cleaned and a new stock is being built from elite material.

Water use
Israel is known for its hot climate and therefore each drop of water should be used. And just like the procedures for workers are so strict, so are the standards when it comes to water. The rain from the roofs from the greenhouses is collected in a reservoir, see the process below, then tap water is added and together this combination is cleaned by reversed osmosis and disinfected by UV.

Clockwise: Reservoir, Reversed Osmosis system, UV disinfection, Reservoir with disinfected water.

After checking the PH levels, fertilizers are added. Every breeder decides how much fertilizers they want to have added to the water. Then, a computer system will do the job.

Fertilizers being added to the water

New computer system
Over the last months, Cohen has been busy with installing a new computer system, namely PAT. "This new system will improve our packaging. All boxes will get a bar code, resulting in better traceability and in turn better availability."

Supply all over the world
Cohen supplies unrooted cuttings all over the world. Europe is their biggest market, followed by North America and Asia. In Europe, they mostly supply growers, and in North America more rooting stations. The demand largely depends on the market, but in general Hen sees an increase in demand for petunias and nemesia and a decrease in calibrachoa.

For more information
Cohen Propagation Nurseries
Nomi Hen
Email: [email protected]