Entries by Tal Franck Benmoshe

COIR SEGMENTATION

Sample of PLF

Coir Segmentation - A Means Towards Quality

Yossi Shachar [Msc. Agric.] Head Agronomist & Eli Shalmon International marketing manager-Pelemix LTD

The rapid development of the use of soilless culture in horticulture industry is in part mainly due to the tremendous progress in the understanding of the growing processes and controlling factors of plants in a limited volume of growing media.

These understandings are the result of mutual global efforts by farmers, farm managers, agronomists and research personnel; part of which has yet to be described by the academic community.

The natural properties (both physical and chemical) of the coir (coco fibers/cocos) as will be described in this article, makes it an ideal substrate suitable for the advanced technology of soilless culture.

There are different kinds and types of coir as well as suppliers, with different levels of coir quality and abilities.

What are the professional elements to be considered when choosing coir for different crops?

A reliable source with proven abilities Quality controlled raw material together with good manufacturing facilities that lead to uniformity and consistency of production in large quantities.

Physical and chemical stability Are the main aspects of the differentiation (in terms of quality) of the types of coir supplied in the market and have a crucial impact on the final results in the field. The physical parameters of the coir are far more complicated to manipulate towards quality.

As a result of the good manufacturing practices adopted by the Pelemix group, today, there are more options to fit the right type of coir to the crop, while taking into consideration various growing factors such as: water quality, irrigation equipment and methods, climate conditions (natural and controlled), shape and size of the growbags / container as well as the crop's agrotechnical demands.

The fundamental characteristics for ideal coir are in the framework of the basic demand for good growing conditions:

1. Good air/water ratio at different water tensions (water buffer) – this affects the final result throughout the growing period.

2. Cation exchange capacity (chemical buffer)

3. Flexibility – The option to choose and fit the right type of product to the right conditions.

The basic production processes of the raw materials used by Pelemix group production facilities in Sri Lanka and India creates unlimited options for the end users.  The company is aware of the grower's needs from the professional aspect and therefore can adjust production accordingly.

The means were taken by Pelemix toward quality coir types: composting period, sieving and screening, mechanical washing, buffering and laboratory analysis, As well as testing during and after production of the chemical and physical values, and pre and after sale agronomy support for the end user.

Pelemix has adopted and introduced the composting protocol into coir production in order to assure the stability (both physical and chemical) of the coir during the whole growing season, including long ones such as the soilless culture of roses (4-5 full years), cut flowers as gerbera for more then a one season crop, flowering bulbs, stock plants for propagation material and other kinds of crops with short or long term growing periods. This enables the reuse of Pelemix coir for a minimum of 3 consecutive years with negligible changes in its fundamental properties.

The new segmentation and sieving technology production process brings into the market a fully defined line of coir products, designed for a variety of crops, climate conditions, different types of greenhouses, water qualities, type and size of growing bags or containers. The agronomy department uses these tools to supply a tailor made coco coir products to the grower in accordance with the circumstances and conditions of his site /crop.

Using the segmentation technology in the right way brings the grower higher benefits per m2 of greenhouses in different places worldwide.

The key point is the ability to supply to the full profile of the root zone on a consistent basis with minimal fluctuations, all of its needs and demands (water, air, nutrients).

Root zone – Coir (when well manufactured according to strict parameters) is well known for its capability to provide the optimal air/water balance for good development of the root zone.

The general root system and the hair roots volume per cm3 should be healthy, white and dense, and full spreading in the growing container or growing bag. This is one of the most important elements that gives the grower better and full control on the plant.

Pelemix segmentation technology is a process based on removing most of the fine dust [“Double Sieved-fine dust removed”] from the coir raw material after the composting process. This gives the raw material a uniform start and actually creates higher air content at full water capacity. This system is unique to Pelemix's products and was developed in order to improve the air/water ratio during the crop development with the element of flexibility in water management.

The second stage after the fine dust removal is sieving of the raw material into 3 main sections:

Section A: Mainly used for seed beds, propagation, growing cubes and small pots nurseries.

These coir products fractions include small particles from 1/6”-up to ¼” grades.  These types of coir can be used in their pure forms or as part of a blend with peat or other substrates such as perlite, vermiculite, etc. These types of coir consist of small particles distribution with very short and thin fibers; in some of the fractions in this section, there are no fibers at all or in a very low percentage.

The buffering of the coir for nursery use (a cation exchange protocol) is essential.  The final result of the buffering is a reasonable lowering of the EC and a stable pH (around 5.8-6.0).

Section B: Mainly for hydroponics/soilless culture -for various flowers, roses, flowering bulbs crops [the flower and the bulb itself], also for indoor and outdoor plants as house plants and gardening plants.

This type of coir is also recommended as a growing media for pots, large volume trays or other types of containers including planting bags, the Pelemix “HOT”  [HIGH OPEN TOP] bag for fruit trees, olives , products  arecitrus and ornamental trees.

This fraction type includes medium sized coir particles and fibers starting from ¾” to 1products areideal for hydroponics uses such as grow bags or container systems; for hot climates/ high levels of radiation during the crop development period - where better water  holding capacity is needed in order to increase the coir's ability  to avoid  stress . The optimal air content at full water capacity of these products is not less than 23-25%.  The drainage management is easier under various irrigation regimes.

Section C: This is the most newly developed product series. This is the PLF [Premium Long Fibers] and the “Multi Drain” line of products and has a wide range of mixtures of fibers and Crush husk sizes.

The coir in this range is developed for hydroponics use in growbags or container systems, and is mainly used in cold climates / low radiation, and for multi cycle irrigation regimes. These products give almost unlimited options to the grower for optimum water management.

Other uses: used as potting soil in the media blending industry, as a growing media in its pure form, or as part of a blend contributing to air holding and buffer capacity.

These products combines' different grades of coir from both of the above sections, plus coir husk chips in different sizes or pure Crush husk with different grades of particles. The air content at full water capacity with these types of products reaches 35-50%-depending on the combination of the basic fractions and the husk particle sizes.

Actually, the full segmentation technology range of types of coir makes the grower's decision much easier and less complicated for choosing the right product for his crop.

The grower's decision, with the consultation of Pelemix's agronomy team, takes into consideration the various factors which have an impact on the development of the crop in coir. Below are several illustrative examples:

1. For the multi cycle water regime, as in the northern hemisphere, we recommend crush coir while in cases of 2-4 water cycles per day (as in the Mediterranean area) the 3/4 inch double sieved coir is recommended.

2. In cases of water sources with elevated chlorine content, the farmer is obliged to run a large quantity of drip water in order to avoid the accumulation of the chlorine in the full medium profile. Thus, a regime of few, but long water cycles should be adopted using a fine fraction of coir such as the 3/4 inch double sieved.

3. For small, and numerous tray holes, we are using the fine fraction 1/2 coir inch not sieved.

4. For orchids with a combination of top water quality and the typical root system, the crush or even the chip fractions of coir are recommended.

Pelemix provides a full concept of growing technologies besides the coco coir substrate itself. This concept includes recommendations and full planning for hydroponics systems; the supplying of the right size of growing bags or containers for specific uses as well as drainage gutters and drainage systems that fits the specific hydroponics or growing system chosen; water analyzing, recommendations for irrigation equipment, water and fertilizer management by a strong agronomy service both in pre and post planting.

Other advantages for growing with this range of coir is: the highest buffering capacity, with good abilities to compensate and protect  the  plant during “stress”, fast  reaction to water and fertilizer adjustments, longer periods of use then a one crop season if needed, fast and easy replacement and site preparation - gives the professional growers the first step to success.

The worldwide demand for coir products is increasing every year, especially for hydroponics use. This factor demands serious attention to top quality control process  and new production technologies, in order to keep the  right balance between the quality and demand – this will be the only way to make proper use of this natural resource.







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  • (+972) 8 672 7921


  • info-coco@pelemix.com

COIR BENEFITS

Coir Benefits

Benefits of the Coir (Cocopeat) as a growing media

  • Cocopeat is an organic material and its production is part of the many uses of the coco nut. When using Cocopeat for hydroponic growing the environment is not  harmed.

  • Cocopeat is an excellent substrate for root development and therefore transplanting can be made directly into the Cocopeat with no need for any further treatment or agent.

  • Unlike other soilless cultures, Coco holds high air capacity even when  completely saturated.

  • The drying duration of  Cocopeat is slower than many hydroponics mediums (not including Crush coir- cocopeat material), even though  Cocopeat holds more air when completely saturated.

  • With time the Cocopeat develops a high buffer capacity that will enable the plants to overcome a short time deficiency of fertilizers and water.

  • The ability to choose a different fraction or mix of Pelemix Cocopeat enables the grower to choose the most suitable growing media that will give the best results in a given climate.

Coco GrowBags are one of the most modern hydroponics growing technologies. Thanks to its many benefits and advantages, it is used as a replacement for other hydroponics technologies. It provides better control over the growth process and saves water and fertilizers.

Type of hydroponics technologyPelemix Coco GrowBagsOpen through – Pelemix CocoPerlite GrowBagsRockwool  GrowBags
Type of MaterialOrganicOrganicVolcanicVolcanic
VarietyPelemix offers a large variety of Coco

Segmentations, mixes and sizes.

Pelemix provides all needed

combinations between 3/4", P.LF and

Crush according to water and climate

restrictions

Pelemix offers a large variety of

Coco types, mixes and sizes

A very small variety and flexible in material & sizesA very small variety of products (material or size)
In Practice1. Placing

2. Short pretreatment

3. Fertigation before planting

1. Placing

2. Filling the through

3. Placing the irrigation

4, Short pretreatment

5, Fertigation before planting

1. Placing

2. Fertigation before planting

1. Placing

2. Long pretreatment

3. Fertigation before planting

PlantingDirectly into CocoDirectly into CocoDirectly into SubstrateDepends on the use of planting cubes, variety hard without it.
DiseaseThe plastic bag limits free movement of pathogens.  Reduces humidity.Free movement of pathogens. No control on humidity levels.The effect depends on bag material and quality.The plastic bag limits free movement of pathogens.  Reduces humidity.
Buffer CapacityWill provide adequate water and nutrient supply even after 2 days without irrigationWill provide adequate water and nutrient supply even after 2 days without irrigationVery sensitive to any problem in fertigation system.  Wil provide low water.No buffer capacity.
Degradation during crop periodSlow degradation during crop periodLoss of material depends on the through size and the management of the plot.Mechanic degradation during crop period.Slow degradation during crop period.
EnvironmentalEnvironment friendlyEnvironment friendlyNot environment friendlyNot environment friendly

coir material







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COIR MATERIAL

Coir Material

By using Pelemix sieving technology, Pelemix removed the fine dust from the raw material and classified it into the various grades that are mainly used in nurseries:

1/6 inch, 1/4 inch, 1/2 inch.

3/4 inch, P.L.F, Crush are used in the horticulture professional sector.

Pelemix keeps the important chemical factors at the proper range (EC/PH) by using natural local rainfall or local pumped waters from close natural rivers.

The raw material coming out of the production sites of Pelemix is balanced by nature and they are named and marked as: NOT treated or washed or UNWASHED.

only this type of products range are allowed to be used in the ORGANIC growing sectors.

For very unic customers and on demand, Pelemix has developed a special protocol of treatment for chemically balancing the coir, using Calcium Nitrate in order to reach very low EC levels.

These products are named and marked as: Treated (fully/partly) according to the required EC level.

These Data are clearly indicated in all documentation that accompanies the shipments.

The "treated products" can not be used fro the ORGANIC growing sectors due to the chemical treatment in this product range.

Chips

Pieces of Coir made from the husk. The chips material is usually added to the growing media as an aerating supplement and allows higher drainage. Chips are very popular in orchid nurseries. The presence of the chips inside the growing media supplies the orchids a good combination of moisture, air and water. There are different sizes of Coir chips and it is important to use the right fraction for the right crop.

1/4" 1/6" Cocopeat

The 1/6" Cocopeat and the 1/4" Cocopeat materials are Pelmix's unique products for Nurseries which specialize in seedlings.

The absence of large particles in the 1/6" Cocopeat and the 1/4"Cocopeat guarantee that there will be full contact between the seed, seedling or the cutting and the growing media. In seedling nurseries the ability of the substrate to maintain water is crucial for the success of the product. 1/6" and 1/4" Cocopeat provides this need while keeping the minimum necessary air content.

practicle distribution 1-4 inch1-4retension

Crush Pro

This Combination of  3/4" cocopeat and  Crush provides a more drainable growing media. It is suitable for climates having a cold winter and hot summer. It is perfect for growers who are interested in applying large number of irrigation cycles in all seasons.

The unique combination of 3/4" coir and Crush results in a media that combines the ability of Crush to drain water with the ability of 3/4" coir to hold water. The media is well aerated but holds water much better than using the crush growing media alone.

crush pro practicle distribution

Crush

Sample of CrushThe Crush Coir is a coarser Coir made of long fibers and chips. The absence of dust and the 3/4" Cocopeat allows a much faster drainage.

Pelemix sieving and pressing technology guaranties that, although the Crush allows fast drainage, it also provides a uniform and homogeneous media. The Crush Coir is suitable for regions with cold climate and low radiation. In those regions, a high number of short irrigation cycles is required in order to supply the plant's needs (Such as Poland and Canada).

crush practicle distribution crushretension

PLF Coco Peat

The P.L.F. Cocopeat is a combination of crushed coco and 3/4" Cocopeat. The presence of crushed coco provides a more drainable medium and therefore is more suitable for regions with both, hot and cold growing periods (Such as U.S.A. and Turkey).

Here again, Pelemix's pressing technology guarantees that the distribution of the two Coir types, inside the grow bag, will be uniform. Combination of the two Coir types guarantees a balanced air and water distribution along with faster drainage.

plfretension

3/4" DS Cocopeat

3-4

The 3/4" Cocopeat is one of Pelemix's leading products and it is recommended for use in hot climate regions (Such as Mexico, South-Africa, and Australia).

The 3/4" sieving is exceptional in its ratio between air and water. Although the Cocopeat has adequate water capacity it also maintains a balanced air capacity as well. Pelemix's pressing technology guarantees that the distribution of the different segmentations inside the grow bag will be equal. By doing so, Pelemix creates a uniform grow bag that allows air and water to be distributed equally in the growing media.

3-4inch practicle distribution







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COIR TERMINOLOGY

Coir Terminology

Coir, CocoPeat, Coco

Coir is the scientific name for all substrate that is based on the Coco-nut husk. Many people are still using the words Coco or Cocopeat when referring to the Coir.

Hydroponic

The term originally referred to water-based growing systems, but now more recently refers to all soilless growing systems.

Soilless

Using alternative materials as a growing media, instead of using soil. The system is disconnected from the soil. This method enables the grower a better control on the rhizosphere. It is also an efficient way to avoid soil diseases and an inhomogeneous soil.

Segmentation of Coir - Cocopeat

The method to define different Coir fractions and the key to matching the right material for different conditions (Climate, Plant, Irrigating system…).

Washed material

Some plants are more sensitive to salt concentration in the rhizosphere. For this  growth sensitivity it is also possible to purchase the Coir at lower E.C. levels.

Treated material

Usually it is recommended to treat the Coir with CaNO3 before using it. Pelemix offers the option of buying the Coir after it has already been treated.

Growbag

The most modern technology for hydroponic growth is based on Coir - cocopeat wrapped in plastic bag (growbag). The product is supplied compressed and achieves its final volume after wetting.

Open Top

Most nurseries and some vegetables growers are interested in growing each plant in separate containers. This product is a full plastic bag with drainage holes in its base, the upper part is completely open. Inside the plastic bag there is a compressed slab of Coir- cocopeat that will expand when irrigated with water.

Grow Cube

Some growers prefer to replant more adult plants into the growbags. In order to do so the young plants are  planted first in  Coir- cocopeat cubes wrapped with a net (the cubes are supplied compressed and expand when wetted) . After the plants have grown they are simply placed on the growbag (on top of planting holes that were made in advance).

Coco Disk

Rounded compressed material for round containers and round planting holes in nurseries trays. When the disk is wetted it expands vertically and fills the container or planting hole in trays.

Chips

Pieces of Coir-made from the husk. The chips are usually used to increase the drainage ability of the growing media.

Crush

Coarser material made of long fibers and chips. It is a very popular as a growing media in regions of cold climate and low radiation.

P.L.F. - Premium Long Fibers

Combination of 16 mm material and Crash.  It is  very popular as a growing media in regions of cold winters and hot summers.

Husk

The outer shell/coating of the Coco nut. It is the raw material for all coir products, ropes and mattresses.

Perlite

Volcanic mineral. It is created when hot lava meets sea water. In order to make the growing media a lot of heating energy is needed. In the heating process the trapped water turns into steam and the mineral becomes much larger and aerated.

Rockwool

Synthetic material that is still very popular in hydroponics systems. Its production demands heating to very high temperatures, and must be treated with caution (Might irritate eyes and skin.). When used as a growing media high numbers of irrigations will be needed.







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Hydroponic – Basic Demands

Hydroponic - Basic Demands

Growing in Pelemix Coco is a very efficient way to grow, and enables the grower to achieve good results with high yields.

There are some important principles that should be followed in order to prepare the greenhouse and plan the plot. The following principles are related to growing in Coco (coir). All general principles such as the disinfection of the greenhouse should be followed.

Structure- The height of the greenhouse, the heating and the ventilation inside the greenhouse should be according to climate conditions in the region.

Slope- In order to collect and remove the drainage water from the green house, the growing row should have a slope of at least 1.5% percent.

There are some ways to achieve this slope:

  1. Taking advantage of a natural slope in the building of the greenhouse, so the row will accommodate the natural slope. This method is cheap but too often irrelevant because of other factors that dictate the direction of the growing rows.
  2. Create a slope for each growing row. This could be done by elevating the row or lowering it towards the ground. In both cases it should be done in a way that the uniformity of the slope will not be compromised during growth.
  3. In the use of hanging gutters there are 2 critical items that should be attended to:
  • Strength of structure: the ability of the structure to hold the gutter, the wet substrate and the plant.
  • Uniformity of the slope: It is important to use  hangings gutters that are not flexible and will not bend under the total weight of a wet growbag and the plant.

Water removal- In order to keep the green house clean and dry, drainage water should be collected.

The number of collecting pipes in the greenhouse depends on the gutter type.

For some gutters a collecting pipe is needed every 30 meters and for others a collecting pipe is needed every 70-80 meters.

Drainage Water- After removing the water from the greenhouse there are a few possible uses for drainage water.

  1. Dispose the water into a draining  ditch.
  2. Reuse the water to irrigate an open field- This field will benefit from all the nutrients and fertilizers. In such cases the drainage water E.C. should be monitored.
  3. Full recycling- Collect the water into a separate tank, monitor the level of all nutrients, E.C. and pH before re-irrigation. In addition an anti disease  treatment / precaution should be applied to avoid the slight possibility of introducing pathogens to healthy plants.







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  • (+972) 8 672 7921


  • info-coco@pelemix.com