Walki Agripap mulching paper
Finnish manufacturer Walki has developed an environmentally friendly mulch fibre material
Laminate and packaging manufacturer Walki has created a new, organic mulching paper which has been successfully tested in Finland and Sweden.
Walki developed the new ‘Agripap’ in an effort to reduce the usage of plastic film as mulch material, saying it estimates that more than a million tonnes are used each year.
Company vice-president Arno Wolff says the company’s creation is the only product of its kind available.
“Walki’s Agripap solution is the only organic mulch type on the market that is made from paper instead of plastic,” he says.
“It is entirely biodegradable, does not contribute to plastic pollution and, instead, simply dissolves into the soil.
“It also reduces the need for the chemicals used to control weed growth.”
As well as reducing plastic usage, Walki says Agripap will contribute to more effective crop and plant growth, as plastic covers can pollute soil and cause yields up to 20 per cent lower than those from non-polluted soil.
Development director Peter Martin says he hopes environmentally-conscious farmers will catch on to the need to use less plastic.
“Having seen the kind of environmental impact that plastic film can have on the soil, Walki has understood that there is a need for a more sustainable mulching solution,” he says.
“Agripap is the perfect alternative for the farmers who care about our environment.”
Testing of the product has already been carried out successfully in Europe, with Finnish research institute Luke Piikkiö concluding that Agripap is easy to lay on the fields and delivers effective weed control.
Walki says that the test, which compared the performance of different biodegradable mulches for growing iceberg lettuce and seedling onions, also showed strong results for yield and durability.
The company’s next step is to complete testing in Europe’s main mulching markets: Spain, France and Italy.
Australian sales are conducted through Walki’s Malaysian office, but it is not known at this stage when Agripap will be available here.