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Sep 27, 2012  |  News

UK: Botanicoir launch next-generation coir system

Botanicoir is one of the UK’s leading coir substrate producers and has worked for many years with some of the world’s biggest soft fruit growers providing high quality growing media for a wide variety of systems. They are now able to launch their new product “Precision Plus” after significant investment in their production facility.

Over the last few seasons Botanicoir has pioneered and developed a specific blend of coir particle sizes best suited to strawberry crop production. This mix has particularly good drainage and air-fill porosity, industry leading water and nutrient holding capacity, excellent structural integrity and longevity of unit production.

This has been achieved by working closely with growers and technical advisors. The process of listening to feedback, looking at results, modifying and trialling different blends with key growers plus innovative thinking from the company and always striving for better results has allowed the Botanicoir team to constantly develop and refine their products.

“I don’t want to give away the secret”, says Kalum Balasuriya, Managing Director of Botanicoir, “but our newly named Precision Plus bag is the result of years of hard work, grower trials and feedback and development. The name says it all – Precision relates to the extremely specific grading and buffering techniques we have developed and Plus is because the new bag will last for a longer period of time due to its stable structure”. He goes on to say “I saw some Precision Plus bags a couple of months ago that were in their third year of long term trials, the particle structure was still so strong that as long as the bags remain disease free, there is no reason they could not be used for a fourth year. These are the results we strive for and a huge benefit for growers. With production life being extended, the savings over the life of a system can be substantial.”

Analysis has been done on the bags throughout the trial to test the standard and quality of buffering, and the results are very encouraging. All of the major elements are well within the standards as set by the industry and end-markets; even the high levels of calcium which are notoriously difficult to achieve, are achieved within this system.

Stephen McGuffie, Production Director of New Farm Produce, UK, pioneered the use of coir for fruit crops, and has tried the product from various suppliers, but has never been satisfied with the results going into years two and three. “It is vitally important that the coir used will retain its air-fill porosity and the ability to drain freely throughout its life”, says Stephen. “Having used the Botanicoir coir mix this season we have seen more rapid root development after planting, with no risk of root death due to poor drainage. We have managed the moisture levels to the point where we can operate at much reduced levels of runoff over an extended period of time with no adverse effect on the production. As a result, further savings in fertiliser usage have been achieved. If we can extend bag life to 3 to 4 years, then this really benefits the economics of a system, but this can only be achieved with a high quality product.

On top of aiming to provide a good product, Botanicoir have proved they are committed to providing an excellent service. “We work hard to ensure that from the first point of contact, right through to after-sales consultancy, the grower has confidence in the product. We understand what a demanding job the growers have,” says Kalum, “We always do our best to make our involvement as stress-free as possible.”

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