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2013-01-24

Baltic substrates secure HAWITA a spot in the premium sector

Baltic substrates are in greater demand on the global market than ever before. The principal reason is the excellent quality of the coveted block peat. The 3000 hectares of land in Latvia owned by the HAWITA Group represent considerable potential for the extraction of block peat. "This will allow us to guarantee consistently high volumes of top quality substrate over the decades, unlike almost all other producers," the HAWITA Managing Director Simon Tabeling said during a press conference at the horticultural trade fair IPM in Essen on Wednesday (23 January). Overall the group cultivates around a million cubic metres of peat each year. Of that, the proportion of block peat is particularly high. At Ankniste, it is as high as 80%.

The company has secured its place in the premium sector with the  HAWITA Balticproduct range. Customers in North America have recently been swayed by the quality of the Baltic substrate, providing HAWITA with an inroad into the American market. Buyers there were also prepared to accept the long transit times in order to use the high-grade block peat based substrate. 

Customers able to plan a year ahead

Block peat is cut mechanically and subsequently stacked in the field by hand. Unlike milled peat, block peat dries out throughout the year. "We already know how much block peat we can sell over the coming year," which, according to Tabeling, is a great advantage for customers. After drying out, the peat is mixed into nearly all types of high-grade substrate because it can be separated into various sizes.

Block peat is an ideal, structurally stable additive used particularly with long living plants such as ornamental and nursery plants, advises Hans-Jürgen Luck, HAWITA's Horticultural Engineer and authorised representative. In particular, plants that are grown in winter flourish with block peat substrates. For example, Hydrangeas, Poinsettias, Cyclamen, Azaleas and native plant populations, says Luck.

Coconut fibre soon to be added to Baltic Substrate

Because two of HAWITA's substrate plants are in the Baltics, transportation to the production plants can be lengthy. In total, the HAWITA group offers around 20 standard substrates from the Baltics that will be on show at the IPM fair. Although most soils are mixed individually for each customer.

HAWITA will soon also offer coconut fibre as an additive to certain substrates in the Baltics. It ensures that water from irrigation is absorbed quickly and distributed uniformly through the pot. "It is especially important for the usual ebb and flow or drip irrigation methods" says Luck.

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