Peat price increase predicted

Rain-related peat shortage expected to raise compost price and fuel drive to peat-free materials.

Compost prices are set to rise an estimated 10-15 per cent in 2013 because of peat shortages caused by the wet summer, industry experts have suggested. But a shortfall could reduce the amount of peat used in growing media.

Garden writer Peter Seabrook said: "The cost of peat is in direct relation to the amount of rain we get in June, July and early August. This weather will mean a terrible harvest across Europe."

He added: "The peat will also be wet and heavy and, with the biggest cost being transport together with limited supplies, I wouldn't be surprised if prices went up 10-15 per cent. This could bring down the amount of peat used in compost."

Sinclair retail managing director Danny Adamson said: "The industry remains under intense pressure to source quality materials in sufficient quantities, particularly as peat harvests are once again suffering due to the adverse weather conditions."

Sinclair will be investing in a second production facility for its SuperFyba peatreplacement product, said Adamson. "Producing significant quantities of this material will reduce our reliance on peat harvesting and further facilitate the move towards peat-free."

Horticultural Development Company chairman Neil Bragg said: "Tell me a crop where because of the weather we are not facing a problem at the moment. That is why other materials such as bark, woodchip, coir and composted green waste are increasingly important."

He added: "One of the points Alan Knight makes in his Sustainable Growing Media Task Force report is that we cannot be wedded to a single material. This year is a good example of why you need other materials in your armoury."

Garden Industry Manufacturers Association director Neil Gow said: "If we can get retail prices up, it will be a good thing."

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