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Trial of cellulose twine in pepper cultivation gets a follow-up

As part of a project by the Platform Tuinbouwreststromen, growers carried out a test with special horticultural twine last year. This involved a rope specially developed for pepper cultivation by a German manufacturer that already offered cellulose rope, made from wood, for tomato and cucumber cultivation.

Kwekerij Litjens and Fresh Peppers tested the rope from producer Biopacks and in collaboration with Mertens. The total testing area covered about 2,000 m2.

The biggest risk during the pilot was that many ropes would break. This leads to damage to the plant and loss of production. Fortunately, no breakage occurred; the rope proved strong enough to last a full cultivation cycle. However, the rope still shows too much stretch.

Therefore, the rope has to be re-tensioned during cultivation, which involves extra work. Initially, the project partners thought the stretch was partly due to the knot attaching the rope to the plant shifting because the rope was more flexible. After testing with different types of knots, it seems that the type of knot does not affect the stretch.

It was indicated by the producer that the stretch might have been partly caused by the rope not being sufficiently acclimatized at the time it was hung. Changes in temperature and humidity can lead to additional elongation. Because the rope is smoother and more flexible, it requires a different way of working. It requires a different way of working to knot the rope, and also, the machine used to make the rope to length has to be adjusted to ensure the rope does not slip.

New test in 2023
The growers said they both have sufficient reason to continue with the pilot next year. Although there are still challenges regarding the application of the rope, they are convinced that plastic rope will have to be replaced in the near future. Therefore, there will be a follow-up to the pilot in 2023 where more growers can join so that together they can more quickly arrive at a way of working that suits the technical properties of the new rope.

The Platform Tuinbouwreststromen sees the following advantages: application of cellulose-based twine enables higher recovery of the plant material. This leads directly to lower costs in sales to composters. In addition, there is now also the possibility of applying the material as a raw material for building materials.

Source: Platform Tuinbouwreststromen 

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