U.K.: "Groundbreaking" coconut fiber substrate launched for berry production
A new substrate made from coir - the natural fiber extracted from the husk of coconuts - has been launched in the U.K., amid claims the "groundbreaking" innovation can increase yields and support healthy plant cultivation.
Botanicoir this week introduced its new substrate Precision Plus Ultra, which is specially geared towards berries.
Managing director Kalum Balasuriya claims the innovation is capable of rapid hydration, has optimum air-filled porosity with good drainage.
"We’ve created a new special mix tailored to berry crops, that nobody has made before – an industry first,” he says.
“We have incorporated a special production method that filters out any material smaller than two millimetres.
“This gives the mix a more open structure and better aeration, which makes it perfect for use in soft fruit crops.”
Agrovista UK has been trialling the new product initially experimenting with one hectare of the growbags on its Hampshire-based farm business where they was used in fields, glasshouses and polytunnels.
After some success it has converted all of its annual 3,000 metric ton (MT) strawberry production to be grown in Precision Plus Ultra.
“This year so far, we have seen a 5% yield increase,” said Ashley Wensak, irrigation and bush crops manager at Agrovista UK.
“The new grow bags have better drainage, higher air-filled porosity due to the ‘ultra’ particles in the substrate and are consistent, which encourages uniform rooting and produces healthier plants.”