Heveco: Next Steps To Managing Through The Peat Shortage

Respect for our environment has always been a company value but in 2011, more than ever, we need to adhere to this value. Weather fluctuations are not expected to stabilize, which means unpredictable harvests from one season to another. Being a peat producer, this year is a wake-up call as Mother Nature has truly been against us during harvest.

This situation brings us to rethink how we can help growers with new peat mixes without compromising performance, as well as help them with advice on making good use of the peat available and with effective solutions that will put less stress on peat inventories.

In a situation of peat shortage, the use of high quality peat should be maintained for crops that are more demanding and that provide added value or higher profit, because it remains the best growing media. Other crops and bedding plants that are more resistant could be grown in mixes that combine a premix of peat with wetting agent and fertilizer, to which other components such as peat humus, decomposed peat, compost, aged bark, coir, rice or peanut hulls, perlite, vermiculite, clay and/or other local agricultural residues could be added.

The mix should be composed of 30 percent at the most of any of these alternative materials. Finding local alternatives can be a challenge.

In cases in which growers would decide on making their own final mix with local components, we strongly suggest getting technical advice and to have the mix tested for physical and chemical properties before use. The choice of material in the mix may have great impact on water management and porosity, but most of all on production success.

Components that are stable in terms of availability and composition should be favored in order to ensure consistency of mix and performance. Whatever the alternative, we must make sure we do not create a shortage with another component or cause environmental stress. Testing and technical advice are available through industry partners such as Heveco.

Since some mixes may have an impact on the growth cycle, it would also be wise to adapt the production schedule based on the crop cycle and use the best peat for crops grown in winter, as well as use alternative mixes for crops grown in spring and summer where the sun and the potential of evapotranspiration are at peak. The appropriate quality mix will have a direct impact on cost savings at the end.

Rethinking how to grow, when to grow and what to grow in will only be beneficial to the entire industry while managing our peatlands in a respectful way.

About the author: Sonia Benoit is the marketing director at Heveco.

Leave a Reply

More From Media...

September 22, 2016

Peat Moss Supplies Look To Be Down In 2016

The annual harvest update from the Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss Association calls for below-average numbers in several major production areas.

Read More
LM-Bark 1 (Lambert Peat Moss)

August 3, 2016

Learn The Basics Of Growing Media From Texas A&M University

The Texas A&M University AgriLife Extension website offers growers a primer on growth media, from the most common types of materials to how to prepare them.

Read More
Penn State Plant Bud

August 3, 2016

Penn State University Offers Recipe For Potting Media

A mix of peat moss, vermiculite, or perlite, and compost or organic fertilizers, can provide a suitable environment with sufficient water-holding capacity, nutrient content, and aeration for plant growth and development.

Read More
Latest Stories

September 22, 2016

Peat Moss Supplies Look To Be Down In 2016

The annual harvest update from the Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss Association calls for below-average numbers in several major production areas.

Read More
LM-Bark 1 (Lambert Peat Moss)

August 3, 2016

Learn The Basics Of Growing Media From Texas A&M Un…

The Texas A&M University AgriLife Extension website offers growers a primer on growth media, from the most common types of materials to how to prepare them.

Read More
Penn State Plant Bud

August 3, 2016

Penn State University Offers Recipe For Potting Media

A mix of peat moss, vermiculite, or perlite, and compost or organic fertilizers, can provide a suitable environment with sufficient water-holding capacity, nutrient content, and aeration for plant growth and development.

Read More
Mum With and Without Ammonium Toxicity

May 5, 2016

How Nitrogen Influences The pH Of Your Growing Medium

In standard greenhouse fertilizers, nitrogen is supplied as ammonium, nitrate, or urea. Each of these three nitrogen sources, when taken up by plant roots, produces different chemical reactions with differing effects on the growing medium pH.

Read More
As the pots continue around the carousel, bark is pushed into the pots and settles around the roots, which helps to avoid compaction in the growing media

May 5, 2016

Three Factors That Can Impact The pH Of Growth Media

Water alkalinity, fertilizer, and plant species can each play a role in the pH of your growth media.

Read More

April 21, 2016

Nutrient Supply Makes A Difference In Soil Media Testin…

Research from the University of Massachusetts highlights the differences approaches to soil media testing, and when to use them.

Read More

April 21, 2016

Michigan State University Offers Tips On Greenhouse Soi…

Improper pH and higher than adequate nutrient levels are among the many reasons for regular soil testing.

Read More

February 20, 2016

Hydrogel Technology Means Growers And Their Customers C…

Water and nutrient management are critical elements for quality plant production in the greenhouse. Maintaining the right amounts of available moisture and fertilizer at all times can be pretty labor intensive, but there are tools available to help you keep these inputs at optimum levels as efficiently as possible. Recently, we visited Evonik Industries’ North Carolina production plant for to see how one of these products — Stockosorb — is made, how it works, and learn the benefits of incorporating these tools in your own operation. Learn more about Evonik Industries’ Stockosorb hydrogel product on the Stockosorb website.  

Read More
Stockosorb Crystals_with water Agriculture leaf (Evonick)

November 21, 2015

9 Sustainable Growing Media Products For Superior Green…

Manufacturers are delivering new growing media products to help growers attempt to minimize their footprint without sacrificing quality. Here are nine new products to consider for your greenhouse operation.

Read More
PittMoss is an engineered fiber, comprised of recycled newspaper and other natural materials, that has been processed to better hold air and water while delivering nutrients to the plant

November 12, 2015

The Latest Advancements In Growing Media And Soils

From increased automation to new soil amendments and water-saving technologies, media manufacturers offer sustainability-focused solutions to meet growers’ unique needs.

Read More

September 25, 2015

Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss Association Announces Early…

According to an August 31 survey of members of the Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss Association (CSPMA), whose members represent approximately 95 percent of all North American peat production, the peat harvest season has been adequate, but not strong, and could cause shortages and potentially higher transportation costs. Down To The Dirty Details The survey inquired about the status of CSPMA members’ 2015 Actual Harvest (including an estimate of what can be expected to be harvested for the remainder of the season) as a percentage of their 2015 Expected Harvest. The lack of a strong harvest overall may challenge peat availability. The Prairie Provinces (Manitoba 98 percent, Saskatchewan 88 percent and Alberta 94 percent), experienced early favorable weather conditions and a strong start to the year. This helped to minimize periodic, negative, weather-related conditions during the balance of the harvest season, and the harvest numbers are close to achieving the expected amounts. […]

Read More
Bob’s Market and Greenhouses’ Ron Morris pours Stockosorb into the hopper for distribution on the conveyor line

August 13, 2015

How Bob’s Market And Greenhouses Improved Growing…

My father started our company 45 years ago growing bedding plants, mainly early season production and finished plants for our West Virginia market. It was in the early 1980s that we started growing earlier spring production and shipping materials to southern markets, and by the late 1980s, we also produced pansies for fall. We started using hydrogels when they first came on the market in the early 1990s and found that they really helped with our production by keeping plants healthier for these new markets. Over the years, we’ve grown to be a large young plant producer and have a sizable business growing finished plants in cell packs, 4 1/2-inch pots, 6-inch pots, gallon containers, hanging baskets, multiple sizes of large containers and large baskets for municipal use. Creating The Ideal Soil Mix With our old system, it took several workers to mix pre-made soil with slow-release fertilizers in cement […]

Read More

December 2, 2014

Grow-Tech Announces BioStrate, Its Newest Hydroponic Gr…

Grow-Tech LLC recently announced the release of BioStrate Felt, a biobased textile specifically engineered for the growing of hydroponic microgreens and baby salad greens.

Read More

November 18, 2014

7 New Media And Light Products For Greenhouse Productio…

New media and light products cover a broad sweep of growing conditions.

Read More
Oakland Nursery plantings in Columbus_featured

November 17, 2014

Oakland Nursery Simplifies Streetscape Plantings And Ma…

The outdoor decorative containers that Oakland Nursery plants and maintains in downtown Columbus, Ohio, enhance the look of the city’s buildings and streets and hinder vandalism.

Read More

October 27, 2014

Peat Moss May Be In Short Supply This Year

Adverse weather conditions in Canada have played havoc with the peat moss harvest.

Read More

September 24, 2014

Canadian Harvest Of Peat Moss Is Below Average For 2014

The harvest season has been challenging, according to the Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss Association (CSPMA), with lower-than-expected harvest of peat moss across most production regions in Canada, due primarily to adverse weather conditions across the country.

Read More

July 23, 2014

Liming Requirements And pH Modification For Pine Wood C…

In the last of a four-article series highlighting the production and use of pine wood chips as aggregates in greenhouse substrates, the researchers found growers do not need to adjust their production practices when 20 percent pine wood chips are used as a perlite replacement.

Read More
[gravityform id="35" title="false" description="false"]