Anaerobically digested dairy as a renewable substitution for peat in media for nursery production

Project Overview

Project Type: Graduate Student
Funds awarded in 2014: $14,856.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2015
Grant Recipient: University of Connecticut
Region: Northeast
State: Connecticut
Graduate Student:
Faculty Advisor:

Annual Reports


  • Additional Plants: native plants, ornamentals


  • Animal Production: manure management
  • Education and Training: extension
  • Farm Business Management: new enterprise development
  • Production Systems: general crop production
  • Soil Management: organic matter

    Proposal abstract:

    Sphagnum peat moss has been a primary component of soilless potting media (SPM) for decades. Concerns over the sustainability of harvesting peat have led to a search for renewable media components.  Anaerobically digested dairy fiber (ADDF) shows promise as a locally sourced alternative to peat for growers in the Northeast.  ADDF has been shown to be a viable alternative to peat in a variety of greenhouse crop trials but there is currently no information published on using ADDF as a component of SPM for nursery crops.  In this project, ADDF and peat mixes will be compared using a variety of plant species at different phases of nursery production.  Chemical and physical properties will be measured over time to evaluate stability, which is more important for long-term nursery crops than for greenhouse crops.  Outreach efforts will include workshops, conference presentations, factsheets and other publications.  This project will begin May 2014 and end during the summer of 2015.  This study will be conducted at the University of Connecticut, Storrs, -by Dr. George C. Elliott, Principal Investigator and Mr. John Lamont, Graduate Investigator.

    Project objectives from proposal:


      1. To evaluate ADDF as a substitute peat in soilless potting media mixes.


      1. To evaluate nutrient availability in ADDF over time.


      1. To evaluate physical changes to ADDF over time.


    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.