The customer is a large scale South African producer of lettuce, growing in both hydroponic systems and in the soil. Challenges arose with cost of seedlings, ease of seeding, germination rates, transplant mortality, growth rates, growing medium clogging up the hydroponic system and water supply and retention in the hottest months.
Trials were conducted using a range of Jiffy 7C pellet sizes, from the 40mm to the 20mm pellet and a good result was obtained using the 30mm pellet. This gave an optimum size of pellet that was cost effective, provided room for seedling growth to a good size and provided stability when transplanted into the system. (Ongoing trials are being conducted with pellet size, particularly for the colder winter months where a larger pellet may prove to be beneficial in buffering against the cold).
The following benefits were noticed: