What is Coconut Fiber Substrate?
Features and Properties
Also called “coco peat” in the sector, it is a 100% natural, organic and renewable product, a result from processing coconut tree shell (Cocos nucifera), with low environmental impact.
Coco peat combines a high capacity to retain water, with properties and features that allow great aeration and oxygenation. An excellent substrate for multiple farming applications.
The use of coconut fibers not only yields great results in the production of greenhouse, garden and nursery vegetables; but it also reduces the damage that occurs in swamps and wetlands. It eliminates a waste which generates and causes pollution, and it preserves jobs in rural areas of countries where coconut production is developed.
Green coconuts are harvested after 6-12 months on the plant. These coconuts contain more flexible white fibers. The brown fiber comes from harvesting fully ripened coconuts, when the nutritious layer surrounding the seed is ready to be processed into copra and dried coconut.
The fibrous layer of the fruit is manually separated from the hard shell, taking the fruit downwards on a tip to split it (debarking). A properly operated husker (a manually operated machine to husk coconut) is able to separate about 60,000 coconuts per month. Currently, there are mechanical machines that crush the whole fruit with process autonomy of 2,000 coconuts per hour.
Despite of the fact that coconut is an organic material, it has a very low decomposition due to its high lignin content (45%). In other words, this is a hard to decompose material.
The properties of this quality substrate are unique for farming, gardening, horticulture, hydroponics and other production systems. Its nature is organic, sustainable and renewable. It is the perfect growing culture for most plants, as it has the qualities and features these demand to do so:
- Low weight. It allows its use in all kinds of places and structures.
- Sewer: It retains and releases water and nutrients with ease.
- High humidity retention capacity.
- Aeration: Foamy material. It preserves the proper balance between water retention and aeration capacity, avoiding excess humidity.
- Enables root development.
- Neutral pH. Between 5.5 and 6.5. Ideal for most crops.
- Thermal inertia: This substrate can yield or absorb heat rapidly. This facilitates a continued development of the root system, both in hot and cold seasons.
Particle sizes of the substrate are selected for their various sieving processes, made from raw materials. In the farming market, we can find substrates of three grades in various mixtures, for a variety of uses.
Fine (earthy style, called coconut powder or peat)
Thick (small pieces)
Chip (larger pieces)
Coconut Fiber Quality
Regardless of the growing method (pot, soil, hydroponics, etc.), one of the significant factors is the thickness of the substrate, from one lot to another, year after year. It is essential that these have a steady physical structure and chemical composition for them is essential. Each type of substrate has unique features, abilities and qualities.
Basically, you have to determine and explore certain qualities, guides and criteria for a high quality coconut substrate:
- Steady physical structure
- Absence of weed seeds and pathogens
- Chemical stability
- Not sterile (especially with steam)
Proper thickness is essential for any farmer. All sacks or coconut substrate bale should preserve their features unchanged at all times. The size and function of each particle will determine the structure of the medium. There is an ideal structure for each plant or crop type.
The grading directly affects the water readily available for the plant. Determining water availability for each crop is important, in order to determine proper grading.
Therefore; and as a general rule, a substrate with thicker grading displays more readily available water and therefore; a greater capacity to turn the crop into a more productive plant, although the safety it provides is compromised as the grading in our substrate becomes greater.
On the other hand; more humid substrates, that is, with finer gradings, are less productive but they display higher safety in terms of handling, as we always have a percent of reserve water and the chances of losing the crop due to a failure in the irrigation system or a failure in the irrigation machine, become reduced.
Tracomex is the first company, proudly from Sinaloa, specialized in the production of substrate and coconut fiber for farming purposes. Committed to providing the highest quality of substrates, we manufacture in accordance with the needs of each farmer, so they are able to achieve better and greater results in their crops.
All Tracomex products have certifications ensuring uniformity of our mixes and seeking sustainability, environmental care and social responsibility for the benefit of our clients and their communities.
Tracomex has 3 production plants, in the North, Center and South of the country, in order to ensure the domestic support and coverage for our clients.