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Tangmere Airfield Nurseries

"No strings attached"

Following two years of extensive trials, Tangmere Airfield Nurseries has made the decision to switch from using traditional polypropylene (plastic) twine to Elite biodegradable twine (PLA) to support their entire pepper crop on 30 hectare UK site. "We didn't take any chances when it comes to relying on this product", explains Gerard Vonk, General Manager at Tangmere. "We can't afford to have an inferior biodegradable twine nor do we want to raise our costs, so we did extensive trials and have evaluated this product in various ways. Obviously, we wouldn't want to have a product that does not perform the way we want it".

It was quite a gathering on a September morning at Tangmere's impressive nursery built right on the former runways of the military airfield at which Spitfire and Hurricane aircraft were based during the Second World War. The assembled group included Gerard Vonk, his colleague Mark Knight, Joris van Calcar of Lankhorst Yarns, Roger Beard of Agrovista and Elmer Vlielander of Benfried.

"For my team the performance of the product made all the difference. Indeed, they were quite happy with it, especially considering the extreme temperatures we have experienced this year", continues Mark – Technical Crops Manager. "Without any question the development of biodegradable twine has come a long way", adds Joris. "It took us years to develop a suitable and reliable product". Since the demand for biodegradable products has increased from growers around the world, Lankhorst started an intensive programme of research, trials and production of a PLA based twine. "It had to be strong, reliable but also economically feasible to fit the needs of growers. Initially it couldn't be produced in pure white either. Now you can’t tell the difference between traditional horticultural twine or this biodegradable product". Details do matter.

"Lankhorst biodegradable Elite twine is exceptionally strong and UV-resistant, but will disintegrate when placed in a compost heap or compost facility. PLA breaks down under the influence of micro bacteria and at the right temperature of 70 degrees Celsius, it will decompose down to 99% micro fibres within just 6 to 8 weeks. In this way it can be part of a environmentally friendly production process or even used by organic growers", Elmer shares.

Independent research on bio twine (PLA) was undertaken by the Wageningen University. A report on the results is available on request.

"The heat is on when it comes to the demand from growers for environmentally friendly or biodegradable products", continues Elmer. "We at Benfried want nothing but the best for our customers and have found this in the Bio Elite twine from Lankhorst, with whom we have worked for many years". The initial demand for this type of product came from Australia, where costs for waste management are rather high in particular places".

"In comparison, the initial cost of biodegradable twine is more expensive than standard polypropylene twine. Besides reducing the costs of waste removal and processing another major benefit is to the environment avoiding the build-up of piles of plastic twine. By investing in the use of biodegradable twine, the grower is taking the next step in the social responsibility for care of the environment. No strings attached" smiles Elmer.

Lankhorst Bio Elite horticultural twine is available for the UK at:
Agrovista UK, contact Mr. Roger Beard
Email: [email protected]
Tel.: + 44 (0) 7909 997587

Benfried International - Holland
Email: [email protected]
Tel.: + 31 (0) 15 2622738

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