How different types of substrates CAN IMPACT THE CROP’S GROWTH AND YIELD?
The more popular hydroponics get, the more substrates are becoming available for hydroponic farmers. To select the best one, we need to look at the factors affecting crop growth and yield as influenced by some of the various products available in the market.
FACTORS AFFECTING CROP GROWTH AND YIELD AS AFFECTED BY DIFFERENT SUBSTRATES.
We must keep in mind three factors when selecting between substrates for hydroponics that will affect the growth and yield of the cultivated plants.
However, the most critical soil water characteristic is the substrate’s Water Holding Capacity (WHC).
Different hydroponic systems planted with various plants will require either a higher or a lower WHC, but in general, it is preferred to have a higher WHC.
AFP refers to the Air Flow Porosity (AFP) within the substrate. Substrates with a low AFP can’t supply oxygen to the plant roots, and some plants might rot and die.
The Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC) has to do with how many cations can be adsorbed to the surface of the substrate. Knowing the CEC of your substrate is essential in order to be able to supply the right amount of nutrients to compensate for the CEC.
Perlite has a low WHC but a good wicking action that makes it ideal for a wick-type hydroponic system. Because of the low WHC, plants might suffer a water deficit between waterings. It is, however, relatively cheap.
The dust from Perlite is toxic, always wear a mask when handling the substance.
On the other hand, Vermiculite has got a relatively high WHC with a low AFP and acts like a sponge. It might suffocate some plant roots.
Rockwool is popular because of a low CEC and high WHC. Because it absorbs well and drains well, it is preferred in ebb and flow systems.
There is, however, a negative side to it. It has a natural high ph and therefore must be soaked in water with a ph of 5 to 5.5 for 24 hours before use. It is also not biodegradable, so eco-friendly farmers might immediately discard it.
Coco coir is an organic biodegradable substrate with a high WHC, and the AFP and CEC are average.
It is excellent in dripper systems where the water intake can be controlled. Because of various processing options, it can be utilized in all scenarios regarding hydroponics.
THE BENEFITS OF GROWING IN COCO COIR
There are many benefits of growing in coco coir, and we will just discuss the most important ones.
Pelemix, a top-level supplier, is geared for the future as far as the treatment, preparation, and processing of coco coir or any other similar material is concerned.
Their coco coir products have increased growth and yield on farms in an eco-friendly way.
Nutrition and water scheduling are optimized:
Coco fiber has a neutral to acidic ph, allowing plants to grow at a Ph of between 5.8 to 6. The neutral Ph makes all nutrients accessible to the plant for optimum growth.
Combine it with a high CEC, and you get a substrate with nutrients adhered to it which readily release it whenever needed by the plant.
The ideal scenario is geared for optimal nutrient absorption and plant growth with a nearly perfect air-to-water ratio.
Overall, this enhances the farmer to optimize irrigation and nutrient scheduling to cut on expenses and optimize growth and production.
Healthy high yielding plants :
Plants growing without nutrient or water stress are less susceptible to diseases, and all soil-borne nematodes are irradicated by planting in coir.
Efficient handling :
Coir is a fibrous material that can be compressed and transported in a much denser mode that takes up less space and is easy to store once it arrives on the farm.
BENEFITS OF COIR IMPROVE YIELD AND INCOME
Planting in coir ensures optimized and healthy growth of the plant through accurate scheduling of nutrient and water requirements. The result is optimized yield while costs are limited to what is necessary with an natural increase in profit.