THE government’s recent release of a masterplan to industrialise and commercialise the R28-billion cannabis industry has resulted in the cultivation of hemp and marijuana becoming a key focus for sustainable farming practices.
And Pratley is positioning one of its products as the perfect partner for farmers looking to cash in on the impending boom.
Pratley Marketing Director Eldon Kruger said their Perlite-based horticultural growing medium Pratley Grolite is perfectly placed to play a major role in the burgeoning cannabis farming sector.
“Using this product is a highly cost-efficient means to boost yields for sustainable small-scale and large-scale farming practices,” he said, adding that it is available nationwide in various grade sizes to cater for specific blends.
Kruger said the fact that it is free of weeds and pathogenic microbes makes it an ideal horticultural growing medium. In addition, it promotes water drainage while still retaining an ideal moisture content level in the root zone.
Pratley actively produces and processes a local mineral called Perlite, which is a volcanic glass. The Perlite raw material is processed in proprietary furnaces to produce products like Grolite that, the company says, enhance agricultural practices and increase crop yields. Tiny micropores on the surface of the expanded Perlite particles capture nutrients and water molecules.
The capillary action in the voids between the particles ensures uniform distribution of water and nutrients, resulting in consistent crops. According to the company, Grolite also maintains optimal soil aeration. This is a critical factor in normal plant growth, as the supply of oxygen to roots in adequate quantities is essential for healthy plants.
Pratley Grolite is processed at temperatures in excess of 950°C, resulting in a completely sterile and safe product.
Unlike ordinary horticultural Perlites, the strong surface structure of Pratley Grolite means it does not deteriorate during transportation or when it is mixed. This unique feature means hydroponic farmers, for example, can reuse the product for more than one season, increasing its cost-effectiveness.