Bulrush has for many years offered full technical support both with the selection and use of the substrates they produce. These services include:
1) Water analysis from sources to establish pH ranges needed in substrates, or the need for water treatment.
2) Full analysis of the mixes as manufactured and during the use, especially for long term crops such as poinsettia. There has been a poinsettia monitoring scheme open to all growers since 1997 and there is a massive data base available on leaf tissue, substrate and feed results to use as a reference bank.
3) Advisory visits and recommendations on the use of fertilizers, both solid and water soluble.
4) Calibration services for injector equipment such as ‘Dosatrons’.
5) Sampling of growing crops and interpretation of the analysis results.
6) Arrangement with other experts to look at disease and pest problems.
7) ‘Grower Notes’ on crops which help to maximise the results on nurseries for the crops.
8) Trials of new and existing products, both at research centers like STC and Greenmount, as well as with growers and bodies such as AHDB-Horticulture.
Full analysis at manufacturing stage
As part of the Pindstrup Group the Bulrush team work closely with colleagues worldwide to investigate new and novel materials and their potential for use in the mixes which are being developed for the future. The team are also building international academic contacts especially in North America where joint work packages are being undertaken.
In the UK, the team at Bulrush is involved in a number of different collaborations. We have been an active partner with Defra, ADAS and AHDB in the development of responsibly sourced substrate mixes for the future. Similarly we have worked with AHDB, NIAB-EMR, a number of growers and commercial partners in using water as a growth regulator in poinsettia and bedding plants. We are also an enthusiastic supporter of horticultural focused PhD studentships (with a number of academic partners). These often explore wider horticultural production related questions and we greatly value the need to support the development of the next generation of horticultural scientists.
These services are provided by Dr Paul Alexander, Ann McCann and Neil Bragg, all are fully qualified FACTS advisers.
Dr. Paul Alexander
Paul has a PhD in Soil Science and joined Bulrush following 18 years at the RHS, latterly as the Head of Horticultural and Environmental Research where his remit was soil and substrate research. His research interests were peat-reduced and peat-free substrates and focussed specifically on water use in plant production using those substrates. Paul is recognised internationally for his applied research and has 17 peer reviewed publications, numerous national and international conference presentations as well as regularly presenting at grower events and meetings.
Ann has a degree in Biological Sciences and has recently successfully completed the RHS Master of Horticulture. Ann has worked in the technical/product development team at Bulrush since graduating in 1996. She has worked closely with Neil Bragg to develop both the Poinsettia monitoring scheme and the development of a data base of analytical results for water, feeds, substrates and tissue samples. Ann’s role within this team has evolved to provide technical support to the both the customer and the Area manager team in the development of bespoke “recipes” with regard to specific crops.
Neil has degrees in both Agricultural Chemistry and Soil Science, as well as being a FQA and Examiner for FACTs. Neil has worked in the industry for over 40 years and has an international reputation for his work on the measurement of Air-Filled Porosity and also the work he has undertaken on the control of growth by the use of restricted Phosphate fertilizer inputs. He was awarded the Pearson memorial medal from the HTA in 2014, and the Gold Veitch Memorial medal from the RHS in 2015 for his contribution to applied horticultural research.