First sales of AD-based biofertiliser in UK celebrated by ADBA

The first sales of biofertiliser produced from the anaerobic digestion process in the UK have been described as “a game-changing moment in the restoration of the UK’s soils”, according to trade body Anaerobic Digestion & Bioresources Association (ADBA).

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.”

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