Big Grower January 2019 - 7

Costamagna. " And we followed suit
with what Young's Plant Farm [in
Alabama] has done and put a new
twist on it. We invested in a mill,
which is modeled after what Young's
has done more than a decade ago
with trees. "
Unlike Young's model, American
Color does not own land and harvest
its own trees.
" Here in Virginia, we're covered in
loblolly pine, " says Costamagna. " We
can get wood chips on a regular basis
and they are fairly inexpensive. The
trees have been debarked prior to
being chipped. "
What American Color has done
with its mill, though, is they are
pulverizing the wood chips first
before running them through the
hammer mill. What this does is,
instead of having a micro wood chip,
pulverizing creates long fibers 10
to 20 mm in length, that are very
similar to coconut coir or long fiber
peat. Their pine tree substrate is
then combined with peat.
According to Costamagna, this
provides increased water-holding
capacity not only at the grower level
but all the way to the consumer.
The company has seen a decrease
in water needs, as well as fertilization
requirements. And for consumers,
they don't have to water their
plants every day or twice a day
in the summertime.
Before joining American Color,
Costamagna spent a decade in
the University of California-Davis
research program studying pest
management systems around the
world. " We had projects in Spain and
Morocco, and so I was exposed to a
lot of different growing systems, " he
shares. " And over the course of time,
traveling through South America,
there was a huge movement now
dating back 20 years where we
worked with finding alternative
means for disease and pest control. "
During this time, Costamagna
witnessed growers fermenting their
own technologies. Toward the later
part of his visits, he discovered
they were using a material called
EM or effective microorganisms,
which he was looking into then and
learning how it could be used and
manipulated in the U.S.
He has since taken this knowledge
and implemented a similar program
at American Color where they
are developing AEM or activated
effective microorganisms. " It is
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our first line of defense in the
greenhouse, which we inject into
our irrigation water, " he says.
AEM is not a pesticide and
therefore does not contain
chemicals. Rather it is a microbial
inoculant that functions as
a biological control measure
through the introduction of
beneficial microorganisms to the
plant environment.
What this new process has done
GV GPN January 2019.pdf 1 12/11/2018 10:38:01 AM
for American Color is instead
of being reactionary, they are
now innovative in their pest and
disease control. The company
still uses synthetic products,
paired with other biopesticides,
but it is truly an integrated
" We have multiple layers
verifying problems and dealing
with them, " says Costamagna.
" But the last thing you want to
do is be reactionary and spray
all 30 acres when you have one
problem in three posts. "
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Big Grower January 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Big Grower January 2019

Big Grower January 2019 - 1
Big Grower January 2019 - 2
Big Grower January 2019 - 3
Big Grower January 2019 - 4
Big Grower January 2019 - 5
Big Grower January 2019 - 6
Big Grower January 2019 - 7
Big Grower January 2019 - 8
Big Grower January 2019 - 9
Big Grower January 2019 - 10
Big Grower January 2019 - 11
Big Grower January 2019 - 12