About us

Presentation of CATE

CATE is an experimental centre based in the heart of the vegetable and horticultural production area of Brittany. The station carries out regional, national and European programmes of experimentation on fresh vegetables, ornamental horticulture and cultivated mushrooms. These programmes seek to resolve technical issues which may be encountered in production and develop the diversification and segmentation of the products.

Founded in 1965 by professional organisations (SICA of Saint-Pol-de-Léon, cooperatives, Chamber of Agriculture), the experimental station is managed by the CATE (Economical and Technical Action Committee), professional union gathering vegetable and ornamentals organisations from Brittany region.

Main objectives and experimentation topics
Expertise areas:

- Fresh field vegetables (cauliflower, artichoke, shallot …)
- Greenhouse vegetables (tomato, strawberry …)
- Ornamentals (plant nursery and cut flowers)
- Cultivated mushrooms (Shii-Take, Pleurotus …)

Main objectives:

- Guaranty competitiveness of the products (production costs, commercial quality)
- Development of sustainable agriculture and food security
- Work on diversification and segmentation

Experimentation topics and trial examples
Sustainable fertilization practices and agriculture

- Benchmarking for reducing nutrient leaching (lysimetric compartments)

Plant protection and Integrated Pest Management

- Identification of diseases, evaluation for products registration
- Alternative solutions: natural stimulators of plant defenses, auxiliary insects

Cultivation practices

- Energy savings in glasshouses

Varietal evaluation, varietal segmentation and diversification

- Trials on cauliflower, broccoli and tomatoes varieties
- Trials on mini sweet pepper cultivation and coloured cauliflower

Post-harvest quality preservation

- Benchmarking on packaging: broccoli, artichoke…
- Benchmarking on presentation
- Evaluation of cold techniques

Resources

- A team of 22 people, including 8 researchers (1 from CTIFL)
- Agreement for “Good experimentation practices” (GEP) and “Research tax credit” for private provisions
- Experimental farm with 16 ha including 12 ha of trial plots
- 9 000m² of glasshouse and plastic shelters
- 16 lysimetrics compartments
- 4 cells for shelf-life studies
- Open-air cropping areas for soilless ornamentals and nursery stock
- Specific equipment for cultivated mushrooms experimentation (pasteurisation chamber, growing chamber)
- Weather station conform to national standards (Meteo France)
- Equipment for measuring and data processing
- Operating budget around EUR 1.6 million

Integration in regional, national and European research and experimentation networks
Regional:

CATE is a member of Phytopôle Bretagne and works directly for around 2500 vegetable and ornamentals growers. CATE works in partnership with others organisations under the coordination of Cerafel Brittany. CATE is editing a trimestral news periodical “Aujourd’hui et Demain”, distributed to 2 300 copies in the vegetable cropping areas of Brittany.

National:

CATE is integrated in the national network of coordinated regional experimentation stations, by CTIFL for fruits and vegetables and by ASTREDHOR for ornamentals. CATE leads also a national experimentation program on cultivated mushrooms under the coordination of FNSACC.

European:

CATE is involved in European partnerships for research and innovation in agriculture:
- Végédurable 2 (2012-2015)
- FERTINNOWA (2016-2018)