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The use of digestates in strawberry production

This WRAP funded project is exploring the use of digestates as a source of plant nutrients in protected strawberry production. The Defra/DECC Anaerobic Digestion Strategy and Action Plan identified the need to find appropriate markets for quality digestates. This project is one of four WRAP funded projects investigating novel options for the use of quality digestates in horticulture and other new markets. The project is led by Dr Mary Dimambro of Cambridge Eco Ltd in collaboration with Rob Lillywhite and Dr Catherine Keeling of the University of Warwick.

The focus of this research project is to explore the potential to reduce the quantity of inorganic fertilisers used in strawberry production by replacement with digestates from anaerobic digestion. Six digestates are being used, produced from a range of feedstocks including food waste, potato waste, maize and slurry. The digestates have been used as the base for nutrient solutions which have been designed to match the requirements for strawberry plants.

Strawberry

Glasshouse trials are currently being undertaken at the research facility at Warwick Crop Centre. The six digestate nutrient solutions are being compared to conventional commercial liquid fertiliser. The trial, running January – June 2013, involves determining foliage quality, growth and fruit production over time.

Watch a short video on the results:

WRAP Research Update meeting - 21st May 2013. Details and presentations.

Read Catherine's pragmatic guide to using digestates