UK: A decade of coir substrate in commercial strawberry production

Agrovista has been working closely with three key partners over the past 10 years to develop a comprehensive agronomy offering to soft fruit growers.

To celebrate this, Agrovista, Botanicoir, Bato and Koppert will join forces at Fruit Focus 2019 to highlight the benefits this arrangement has brought, and continues to bring to producers.

Mark Davies, Agrovista head of fruit (left) and Kalum Balasuriya, MD of Botanicoir

A decade ago, coir substrate was being introduced as a peat replacement for commercial strawberry production. During the intervening years, Botanicoir and Agrovista fine-tuned the 100% coir mix to develop the Precision Plus grade, which put Botanicoir on the global map, and more recently Precision Plus Ultra, now the product of choice for many large growers.

Agrovista started to look at the options for improving the systems within which some of this substrate was used, and in 2009 struck up a trading relationship with Bato Plastics, a Dutch specialist in substrate troughs and pot systems.

Bato pioneered square pots on legs for the cane fruit market, and trough systems to optimise substrate volume per plant.

The move to substrate in a protected environment paved the way for biological control techniques. Koppert UK has worked closely with Agrovista’s agronomy team to help more growers reap the benefits of this method of controlling pests, whilst keeping residues to the absolute minimum.

No-one knows what changes the next 10 years will bring, but Mr Davies is in no doubt partnerships such as these will continue to complement Agrovista’s fruit team, helping agronomists maximise customers’ yields of top quality fruit whilst satisfying increasingly complex demands of inputs legislation, protocols and consumer expectation.

“We will see changes in crop production methods and developments in variety choice, growing systems, automation and crop monitoring,” says Mr Davies.

“So watch this space – Agrovista and our partners intend to play as big a part over the next 10 years as we have in the last.”

Agrovista is exhibiting on stand 300 at Fruit Focus. Koppert, Bato and Botanicoir are on adjacent stands (302, 304 and 306 respectively).

For more information:
Rutherford House
Nottingham Science and Technology Park
University Boulevard
T: 0115 939 0202
F: 0115 939 8031

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