The UK’s trade body for anaerobic digestion (AD), a natural process that recycles organic wastes into valuable products, has today described the first sales of biofertiliser produced from AD as ‘a game-changing moment in the restoration of the UK’s soils’.
Farming family Steve and Sarah Suggitt of Suggitt Farm Services in Norfolk are using digestate, a liquid byproduct from their AD plant, to produce PlantGrow, a solid biofertiliser and liquid plant food developed by them specifically for the horticultural market. The solid version is a soil conditioner, while the liquid plant food nourishes growing plants.
The biofertiliser is available to both commercial growers and hobby gardeners and is on-shelf in 200 Homebase stores, all Blue Diamond stores, and independent garden centres in Norfolk, as well as online.
Due to its organic content, digestate from AD has a very high nutritional value. Despite this, operators of AD plants have traditionally found it difficult to find a market for digestate as farmers and gardeners have been wary of alternatives to artificial fossil-fuel-based fertilisers, which dominate the market.
Charlotte Morton, Chief Executive of the Anaerobic Digestion & Bioresources Association (ADBA), said:
“Digestate produced through AD contains valuable nutrients such as phosphorous, potassium, and nitrogen, which are vital to restoring our depleted soils. Spreading digestate onto agricultural or horticultural land is a great way of improving crop and plant growth and maximising yields – it also offers a cheaper and more environmentally friendly alternative to industrial fossil-fuel-based fertilisers, which have a very high carbon footprint.
“The sale of products such as PlantGrow’s solid biofertiliser and liquid plant food in large wholesalers nationwide is a game-changing moment in the restoration of the UK’s soils. We hope it can increase demand for biofertiliser across the country, allowing AD operators to find a market for what is such an important and valuable product.”
Steve Suggitt said:
“Sarah and I are really excited to see our home-grown digestate on sale to the general public. PlantGrow is creating a great deal of interest and producing excellent results – it is the first totally natural product to be available to the horticultural sector.”