Peat Moss Management And Sustainability In 2013

Peat bogs provide habitat for a number of unique plants, including the pitcher plant (Sarracenia purpurea).

GG: What is the state of the peat moss industry right now?

Short: I would characterize it as stable. There have been some acquisitions — most notably SunGro’s acquisition of Fafard soilless potting mixes — so there has been a bit of consolidation. I think realistically the industry is a reflection of the health of the horticulture industry over all. I say that in the sense that the same forces that are at play with the economies in Canada and the U.S. also have an effect on the purchasing decisions of consumers.

GG: Has the debate about whether peat moss is sustainable continued?

Short: The market continues to be interested in the responsible management of the peat lands, not only in Canada but throughout the U.S. and worldwide to some extent. Our industry is engaged with federal-provincial and, where appropriate, state industries to promote and strengthen the management of these resources. Questions still continue to be raised by our purchasers for a greater assurance that we are managing not only our businesses but the resource itself. This is happening less and less because more than 75 percent of our producers are now within the VeriFlora Certification Standard for Responsible Peatland Management certification scheme. This gives greater assurances from an outside agency that we are complying with vigorous, third-party standards. It’s not just our word. Now there is a third party out there looking at our operations and validating them based on what we feel are some very stringent criteria.

GG: Do you think the third-party validation is helping to promote the message of peat moss as a sustainable material? Are growers catching on to this message?

Short: It’s not just the third party; we are taking some action steps ourselves. The information on our environmental life cycle and our social economic lifecycle assessment to consumers has increased the information about our industry and our products. The distribution of the lifecycle assessment information has also promoted an increased curiosity in the market of the values of other growing media materials related to their environmental, social and economic impact.

My view is that this is a good thing for the horticultural industry in general. A greater awareness of all the attributes of growing media also permits better decisions. The promotion and awareness of our scientific research is becoming a foundation for improved understanding of the challenges and success that responsible management of peatlands can achieve. We are planning to continue to maintain our programs to further investigate peatland hydrology, biodiversity and the greenhouse gas effects of our restoration efforts across the country. So we are getting the message out and I think people are listening and asking questions not only of us but of other media companies.

GG: Last year the peat harvest was down due to the weather. What are your expectations for the harvest this year?

Short: Our harvest has significantly improved from last year’s season in Quebec and the Maritimes and Central Canada. We have achieved slightly higher than expected volumes. That’s because of an earlier start to the season and favorable weather conditions throughout the harvest. Western Canada’s harvest is impacted by a slower start and not as good weather conditions, so we are slightly below what our expectations were there. The outcome is a considerable marked improvement in the harvest volume over last year, and it is anticipated that further adjustments may be made depending on the size of the harvest in the fall season. This is especially true in western Canada. I would also like to note that the European harvest season has been challenged by weather, and it is anticipated that supply will be significantly reduced in these countries.

GG: Do you think the quality and prices will remain the same as last year?

Short: I think the question of price is one of market demand and supply of the product. That will determine it. I really can’t say there.

Our producers have maintained a commitment to ensure our clients
receive product that meets their demands for quality specific to their needs, so this applies to both bulk peat and mixes. Our members work directly with the clients to ensure the product fits their needs. Our quality has been maintained by client relationship activities and our commitment to quality.

GG: The peat shortage was highly publicized, but many growers
reported that they were able to secure the necessary materials. How widespread was the actual shortage?

Short: The shortage last year was extensive throughout the industry; however, individual companies worked directly with their clients to provide to their needs. In some cases, purchases were made overseas to secure individual supply while maintaining our quality. Within the horticultural industry, there were some cases where alternative materials were purchased and our members are working now to regain these sales.

Leave a Reply

More From Media...
Bee Vectoring Technology Bumblebee

December 1, 2015

New Crop Protection Solution Uses Bees To Deliver Biocontrols To Flowering Crops

The new system from Bee Vectoring Technology incorporated a powdered crop protection material into the lid of commercial bumblebee hives. Bees pick up the product when they leave the hive and deposit it on every plant they visit.

Read More
Smith Gardens Marysville outdoor field production

November 30, 2015

Why Smith Gardens’ Marysville, WA, Facility Is A Great Place To Work

Labor rates in Washington State are some of the highest in the nation, making competition for labor fierce. This is why Smith Gardens in Marysville, WA, wants to strengthen its reputation as a great place to work.

Read More
Feature - Agave ‘Blue Waves’ (Rancho Tissue Technologies)

November 30, 2015

Spice Up The Garden With 12 New Succulent And Miniature Plant Varieties

New succulents and miniature plants for 2016 offer a variety of colors and foliage textures that add interest and visual appeal to any size garden — indoors or out.

Read More
Latest Stories
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

May 14, 2014

How Pine Wood Chips In Substrates Affect Plant Growth R…

This is the second article of the four article series highlighting the production and use of pine wood chips as aggregates in greenhouse substrates.

Read More

April 3, 2014

The Processing And Properties Of Pine Wood Chips

In the first of a four article series highlighting the use of pine wood chips as alternative aggregates to perlite in greenhouse substrates, researchers from North Carolina State University discuss the processing and physical properties of pine wood chips.

Read More

April 3, 2014

Water And Media Are The Foundations Of Your Business: T…

Electrical conductivity (EC) and pH, as well as water alkalinity, have the biggest effects on nutrient availability. Learn how to keep track of them through three common methods for better monitoring in the greenhouse.

Read More
PlugEase from Acme Group

March 3, 2014

Acme Group Introduces PlugEase, A Line Of Recyclable Ag…

The Acme Group recently announced its new line of recyclable Agrifabrics and plant plug substrate, PlugEase. The products make recycling affordable for greenhouse growers, farmers and horticulturalists.

Read More
Emerald Coast Growers

February 26, 2014

Emerald Coast Growers Constructs New Soil Facility

Emerald Coast Growers has constructed a new, consolidated soil mixing facility to increase efficiency and allow for easier custom blending by crop.

Read More
Combination pH and EC meter. Photo courtesy of Hanna Instruments

February 5, 2014

Test Media pH And EC With The 2:1 Technique, Pour-Throu…

Avoid a buildup of soluble salts and create an environment most conducive to nutrient uptake with these three common media testing methods.

Read More
Fertiss Growing Medium from Oasis Grower Solutions

November 18, 2013

Three New Options For Growing Media

From special blends to mycorrhizae, here are some new options for growth media.

Read More

November 14, 2013

Growing Media: To Mix Or Not To Mix

Thinking about making your own growing mixes to lower costs? There are many things to consider before taking the plunge.

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