Coir has become the substrate of choice for most of the UK’s major strawberry growers, but the debate about in which system to use it continues. Here are some pros and cons of the various options.
The rapid rise in popularity of coir as a growing medium has transformed strawberry production. Many growers were initially forced to embrace substrate, due to a lack of pest- and disease-free land and the loss of reliable soil sterilants, as well as planning issues and high picking costs.
Coir has since become the substrate of choice. Most growers have moved on from the peat bag that was common 15 years ago, thanks to rapid improvements in the quality of coir substrate and the knowledge associated with its use. This has also reduced the risks for growers who wished to move to substrate for the first time.
Plant health, yields and potential reusability have all helped make coir the success it is today. Botanicoir, which celebrates its fifteenth birthday this year, has been at the forefront of the development and improvement of the coir strawberry bag during that time, culminating in the recently launched, new and improved Precision Plus Ultra mix.
Although the industry seems set, and very happy, using 100% coir substrate, the ongoing question remains – should it be used in bags, troughs or pots? This debate has come to the fore again in 2020, as growers sharpen their focus on flexibility, ongoing costs, labour issues, and waste management.
Mark Davies, head of fruit at Botanicoir’s partner company, Agrovista, says there are pros and cons to both systems, read more about it here.