A company on the Longford-Westmeath border says they are actively trying to find an alternative to peat in order to keep their business viable.
Klassmann Deilmann is one of the biggest manufactures of compost or substrate for commercial growers in Ireland but they found themselves without a source of raw material when a High Court case in 2019 resulted in them not being able to harvest peat locally.
Since then the company has taken in a shipment of peat from Latvia to be able to keep making blends of compost for their various clients.
Kevin Mahon from the company says they have been trying willows originally grown for biomass as a substitute for some of the peat by shredding and composting it over recent months.
He says early indications are that it could be used for ordinary compost but would only be suitable in much diluted amounts in the mix for their main growers compost.
He says the lack of any real alternative for peat is a huge issue for the entire country, and even supplies of substitute natural products are not available in any real quantity.
"There's still demand for the products we produce. It's kind of about how do we transition away from peat now and whether we can still remain competitive with these alternative products and not having access to our own raw materials locally. That's what the challenge is. It's about competitiveness really and having availability of the raw materials locally. There's not enough bark or wood and you have to use a blend of these products to make a quality substrate for these professional growers".