Coir waste management for hydroponic berries (MT17016)
What was it all about?
Management of spent coir has become a challenge for many producers, including raspberry and blackberry growers. This project investigated opportunities for the beneficial reuse of spent coir. The team researched the use of coir, options for spent coir, and consulted with experts in the area both here and overseas to make recommendations on the best way to deal with it.
Key findings included…
- Composting on farm is an option for those who can use or sell the compost. Co-composting with materials with high nitrogen content such as manure may be required to make sure composting is effective.
- Reuse on farms without composting as a soil amendment is suitable.
- Berry producers can link up with organic recyclers in their region to dispose of spent coir, which is often the most cost-effective solution. This map can help growers find someone local.
- Other opportunities can include landscape companies, chicken producers and orchardists although profiling of the used coir might be necessary to demonstrate suitability for some options.
- Growers can work with others in protected fruit, vegetables and flowers, which are industries with similar waste problems.
The project team recommends that a voluntary stewardship program should be established involving the entire supply chain—growers, coir importers, industry groups and the Australian Organic Recycling Organisation.
- The Nursery and Garden Industry Association has several articles on dealing with waste such as coir on their website that could help growers to find a solution.
- Download a summary booklet on the project findings for berry growers.