Plastic Mulch Retrieval Equipment Demonstration

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County Agents and fruit/vegetable growers are invited to observe, on October 4, 2018, at 2 p.m., an on-farm demonstration using a mulch retrieval piece of equipment. If you have interest in seeing this equipment please contact Craig Mauney (rcmauney@ncsu.edu and (828) 989-7900) or Christy Breedenkamp (clbreden@ncsu.edu and (828) 586-4009) for more information and directions. We will also be discussing Best Management Practices for removal of plastic mulch that can save farmers as much as $125 dollars per acre in costs at the end of the production season.

Description of equipment – This piece of equipment has been purchased through our Research Project and will be available for use by farmers once our research project is complete. Right now it is being used in Jackson and Swain Counties as part of our recycling plastic research.

Plastic Mulch Lifter-Wrapper

Description of project – Waste Reduction Partners and N.C. Cooperative Extension have been working on pioneering the possibility of recycling plastic used for mulch. Just as this has been worked out for nursery plastic and greenhouse film we are trying to recycle plastic mulch and reuse it to keep it out of our landfills. We worked with multiple companies and the one we purchased is working. The BMP’s that will be published will help farmers reduce their costs even if retrieval equipment is not used. Example:  Just removing the plastic mulch on a dry day significantly reduced the weight of the plastic thus reducing the tipping fee at the landfill. We will be collecting around 10,000 pounds of plastic this season for continued research.