Why to use coir fiber instead of rock wool in soilless cultivation?
The characteristics of a substrate is defined by its physical, chemical, and biological properties. From a substrate it is expected to be the ideal growing medium through which the producer obtains the maximum potential of a culture. But the producer also has to take into account those factors that directly affect the capacity of the substrate, such as technical qualification, the management of irrigation parameters, climatic conditions, state of development of the crop, etc.
More and more, there is an increasing trend of the displacement of soilless cultivation in rock wool to coir fiber, being the price a determining factor. In addition, the high presence of medium level technification structures in many crops causes no differences in production yields between the two substrates. To ensure that the differences are minimal, it must be guaranteed that the use of coir fiber is of the highest quality.
However, the price is not the only reason by which the farmers choose one or another substrate. In crops where rock wool is used, a high level of control of irrigation and climatic management parameters is required. The margin of error allowed in rock wool is very small, causing irreversible damage to crop if, for example, there is an error in irrigation management accompanied by high temperatures. In addition, and from a chemical point of view, rockwool is an inert material, so the buffering capacity is lost, which requires a perfect management of the nutritional supply.
On the other hand, a failure in the irrigation system in a hydroponic coir fiber crop allows the producer to easily correct this problem without causing damage to the crop. This is possible due to the physical and chemical properties of the substrate itself.
Another reason is the difference in the management of both substrates once their use has ended. The organic character of coir fiber allows the producer to introduce it into agricultural soils, giving it improvements in the physical and chemical properties of the soil. This is not possible with rockwool and its recycling is a drawback, not only because of the environmental impact it generates, but also because of the extra cost for the farmer having to transfer it to an authorized manager.
As manufacturers of coir products, we perfectly know the properties and behavior of coir in soilless cultivations. We adapt the coir receipt to the customer needs. Contact us!