The search for more sustainable and environmentally friendly agricultural practices has led to the exploration of alternatives to traditional substrates used in agriculture. One of the materials that has gained popularity in recent years is coco coir, a renewable and highly versatile natural resource.
Coco coir used in agriculture is a by-product obtained during the processing of coconut shells from the cosmetic, food and textile industries.
The appearance of this material is similar to peat and is composed mostly of lignin, cellulose and hemicellulose from the mesocarp of the coconut palm.
Several types of products are obtained from the processing for the production of coco coir: chips, fibres and particles.
Coir chips and large particles in the coco coir are used for greater aeration and drainage, while the small fibres and particles are used for greater water and nutrient retention.
The correct combination of the different types of products obtained from coco coir has a direct influence on the quality of the substrate and the benefits it will bring to the crops. Therefore, a good knowledge of the crop to be grown and of the coco fibre itself is essential to design a high quality substrate that will allow us to obtain the maximum potential from our crops.
Coconut fibre has chemical and physical-chemical properties that are very suitable for cultivation, with an excellent pH level and, although its salinity is naturally high, washing treatments are carried out during its production, which means that we can find materials between 0.5 and 5 dS/m or even lower electrical conductivity.
In terms of durability, we can speak of a fairly stable substrate, especially due to its high C/N ratio, which means that it maintains its properties to a greater extent than other substrates of natural origin. The average life of coco coir substrate is around 3-4 years.
By using coco coir as a substrate, farmers can enjoy a number of significant benefits. In addition to its sustainability as a renewable resource and its ability to recycle coir waste, it also promotes a healthier environment for plants by preventing disease and reducing the need for agricultural chemicals.
In summary, coco coir as an agricultural substrate represents a promising solution for greener and more sustainable agriculture. Its versatility, combined with its environmental benefits and improved crop quality, make it a valuable option for farmers committed to responsible and sustainable agricultural practices.