Alternative growing media for hydroponic berry production – a desktop review (RB21002)
What's it all about?
This desktop review is investigating current and emerging substrate options for hydroponic berry production in Australia.
The research team are conducting a global scan of substrate options, focusing on production systems in the UK, Netherlands and Germany (considered world leaders in this area), as well as countries with similar production conditions to Australia, such as South Africa, Central America and South America. The aim is to identify emerging substrate alternatives for hydroponic rubus crops that could be adopted or adapted for Australian production conditions.
Recommendations for the rubus industry will consider the economic and management realities that producers face to ensure the media options prioritised are feasible for the Australian production context.
Assessment criteria will include but not be limited to:
- Economics (e.g. comparative costs to access, transport, handle, recover and recycle, durability/life span)
- Physical and chemical properties and changes to expect over a 3-4 year production period
- Accessibility and consistency of supply and product
- Recovery and reuse/recycling options of spent substrate (given that ‘disposal’ is not a sustainable option under the National Waste Management Policy and strategies/legislation in different states)
- Sustainability of substrate production and ‘end of life’ options
- Ease of management
- Compatibility with existing systems.
This project is a strategic levy investment in the Hort Innovation Raspberry and Blackberry Fund