The best way to clean your field after your harvest

Which type of mulch film is easier to clean up?


So perhaps you’re now done with your first planting cycle and ready to move on to the next one, or getting ready to wrap things up before Winter.

 

You either have a polyethylene, a degradable plastic or a certified compostable biodegradable mulch film. Which is better when it comes to cleaning? Quick answer, the certified compostable biodegradable one is the best. Plus, it gives you the opportunity to mechanize your cleaning process!

 

Let’s find out why certified compostable biodegradable plastic mulch film is the best! This text will focus on the differences between the three and their respective cleaning process.

 

The difference between mulch films

 

The differences are very simple. For a polyethylene mulch, you will have to clean for hours and days. You will need to find the necessary workforce to help you clean your field, which can be hard to find. At the end you will throw away your used mulch film. 

 

Mechanize your cleaning process

 

With a degradable plastic or a certified compostable biodegradable mulch film, you will mechanize your cleaning process. That means you will replace lots of man-hours with a few or no tractor hours.

Bonus, you can reduce the lifespan of a certified compostable biodegradable mulch film by using manure.

There’s a small difference in the clean up process between a degradable and a certified compostable biodegradable mulch film. With degradable you always mow and slice whereas you don't with the Certified. Both however are disked in the soil. But there is one HUGE difference we haven’t yet explained.

 

Plastic residues in your field

 

Of course the polyethylene mulch film will leave very little plastic residue in your field because it’s removed by hand. But if you compare the degradable plastic and the certified one there is a major difference!

After disking your field of degradable plastic, you will notice tons of plastic and also toxic residues in your field. These residues will stay for years, infecting your soil for generations of future harvest! Degradable mulch is not biodegradable. It does not turn into compost. Degradable mulch is a fake.

 

The USDA has this to say this about degradable plastics : 

Oxo, organic, or enzyme additives added to conventional plastics like PE, do not make these plastics biodegradable in soil or compost in any meaningful time. They can break down into very small particles, potentially contributing to environmental contamination by microplastics…

Also, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, the European Union, and major NGOs have reviewed the data and the biodegradable claims have not been substantiated.

On the other hand, certified compostable biodegradable mulch films are clean. They leave no long term residues. That’s a major difference that simply cannot be overlooked. 

Difference-between-mulch-films

Problems with the landlord

 

As you know, landlords don’t want to find plastic left overs or accumulation in their fields from previous years. Degradable plastic mulch film is not landlord friendly because it doesn’t break-down. It leaves plastic behind for years. Certified compostable biodegradable is landlord safe. It breaks-down and leaves biomass. It replenishes the soil. So you really need to be careful when it comes to choosing your mulch film. If you want to keep renting land, Certified is really the best way to go.

 

Be wise while choosing your plastic mulch films

 

Here’s a grid to compare a landlord who rents 30 acres to three different vegetable growers. Each grows10 acres. Each uses a different type of mulch film.

 

 

Polyethylene

Degradable plastic

Certified

Cleaning cost

$200-$600 / acre*

$30-$50 / acre

Nil

Cleaning time

6-8 man hours / acre 

+ 1-2 tractor hours + disposal

20 to 45 minutes / acre

Nil

Mechanize cleaning process

No

Yes

Yes

Residue free

Mostly

No

Yes

Impeccable soil for next generation of harvest

Yes

No

Yes

Will be able to rent next year

Yes

No

Yes

Leaves behind toxic acid residues

No

Yes

No

*depends on soil type, row spacing, bed height, labor cost and disposal cost

 

Overall

Polyethylene plastic

Pros:

  • Mostly residue free after clean-up
  • Soil will stay clean for the next generation of harvest
  • Will be able to rent the 10 acre plot next year

 

Cons:

  • Cleaning cost is high
  • Takes days to clean
  • Need to find workforce for cleaning process because it isn’t mechanized
  • A pain in the …. to clean-up

 

Degradable plastic

Pros: 

  • Cleaning process is mechanized
  • Cleaning cost is low

 

Cons:

  • Leaves plastic residues in your soil that you can see
  • Leaves behind toxic acids in your soil that you can’t see
  • Dirty. Its a fake.
  • Won’t be able to rent the 10 acre plot next year

 

Certified

Pros:

  • Cleaning process is mechanized
  • Fast cleaning process
  • Cleaning cost is low
  • Leaves no plastic residue. Replenishes the soil with biomass.
  • Convenient, clean and economical
  • Will be able to rent the 10 acre plot next year

          

Cons:

  • Higher up front cost than polyethylene plastic

 

Now that you are familiar with the pros and cons of each mulch film, you can now make an informed decision.The one that stands out as the clean winner is the certified compostable biodegradable. So let’s go deep and find out how the Certified works and the steps involved in cleaning your field.

 

Find your certified compostable biodegradable mulch film at FilmOrganic

 

At FilmOrganic we provide a selection of certified compostable biodegradable mulch films. Over the years, we’ve specialized for vegetables, hemp, strawberry and melon production. We are certified TUV, Ok Compost and Naturally Grown. FilmOrganic gives farmers the opportunity to increase their yield with environmentally friendly biodegradable mulch film that won’t damage their soil.

 

 

FilmOrganic cleaning procedure

The clean up procedure depends on the crop. Here are some general guidelines for common crops. But first, watch this video to see how to remove the drip tape.

 

  1. Staked tomatoes
  • Step 1 : Remove the drip tape. It will rip right through FilmOrganic mulch film.
  • Step 2 : Cut strings and remove stakes. Let plants fall on the bed. Do not mow.
  • Step 3 : Work the plant material along with FilmOrganic mulch film in the field with a disk harrow. It will rot away. You’re done in no time!

 

  1. Peppers and eggplants
  • Step 1 : Remove the drip tape. It will rip right through FilmOrganic mulch film.
  • Step 2 : Cut strings and remove stakes. Let plants fall on the bed. 
  • Step 3 : Mow.
  • Step 4 : Work the plant material along with FilmOrganic mulch film in the field with a disk harrow. It will rot away. You’re done in no time!

 

  1. Strawberries, hemp, cucumbers, squash, watermelons and other melons, unstaked tomatoes, onions, beans.
  • Step 1 : Remove the drip tape by pulling it from the front or rear end of the bed. Wind it onto a spool attached to your tractor PTO. 
  • Step 2 : Work the plant material along with FilmOrganic mulch film in the field with a disk harrow. It will rot away. You’re done in no time!

 

Want to know more? Click here if you want to know more about how FilmOrganic is a profitable solution for farmers?

 

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