- In Agriculture
Concrete Industries, Block Industry, Heat-Resistant and Fire-Resistant Plaster

Our Tuff labs are engaged in digging, sifting, milling, backing, grinding, processing and gradation, in addition to conducting preliminary research aiming to develop, In order to identify the multiple aspects of volcanic Tuff uses in agriculture and construction, we, with the help of local and international research institutes, universities and pioneer private sector farmers who have been using Tuff for several years, will be able to support promising results locally obtained at roses farms and Ornamental Plants Which will be distributed to seasonal crops, field crops, vegetables and fruits, whether protected or exposed, in the light of the results obtained in European countries, which proved an agricultural output of more than seven times than the production with regular soil and even fertile ones.

 

Summary Of Methods Of Using Tuff for Agriculture Purposes:

 

·        Tuff is used as an isolated cultivation plant (isolated from the ground) where flowers and roses are planted in order to reach acceptable specifications by the international market, ie agriculture for export.

·        Ecological pot gardening of all types of ornamental plants and multi-cut flowers according to international specifications.

·        To cultivate of vegetables and field crops, whether in agricultural reserves or in open fields

·        To cultivate of fruit trees such as apples, grapes, mangoes and others.

·        To cultivate medicinal and herbal plants.

·        Grass of sports courts and Hippodrome

·        Industrial uses, such as the manufacture of lightweight concrete buildings and blocks.

·        As insulating layers in shelters, as bedding for piping, compression and matting in tennis courts.

·        It is used in mixtures of production of fruit seedlings and ornamental plants, in certain and specific percentages with bitum and perlite. However, it is known that the tuff mixtures have also shown remarkable results in the production of seedlings.

·        It is used in natural gas purification.

·        It is used in the treatment of animal waste.

·        It is considered as useful material in animal feed.

·        Treatment of industrial wastewater and sewage.

·        Using in nuclear power plants.

·        Drying wet grains and anti-creasing materials in fertilizer stores.

·        Cement and building materials industry.

 

Agriculture methods using the Volcanic Tuff:

 

As previously mentioned, Tuff is used as a bedding course for cultivating roses, vegetables, flowers and trees. There is an ideal way to use it with each product. Whereas methods shall vary according to requirements of the product.

 These methods can be summarized as per the following:

 

 

1-      Drilled Canals Method:

 

This method is particularly suitable for planting roses in both greenhouses and open houses. Before digging the canals, it is recommended that the farmer be sure that the surface is oriented in one direction with at least 1.5%. Canals shall be made while maintaining the above-mentioned inclination with a width of between 60-70 cm and a depth of 20-30 cm. Here we would like to point out that agriculture with canals can be implemented in two ways:

 

a.     The method which is isolated from the natural ground by packing the canal with plastic slides.

b.    Connected canals without an insulator separating ground soil from the Tuff.

(This method shall not be subjected to inclination requirements)

 

The channel shall be supplied with two different sizes of tuff (coarse and soft).

The coarse tuff shall be placed at the bottom with 20-25% high of the depth of the canal. It is about 4-14 mm in size, Its function is to discharge excess water from the plant, Which is referred to the drainage hole at the end of the agricultural lines; and dispossess the excess irrigation water outside the greenhouses while the irrigation of the fruit trees.

The upper part of the canal is filled with Tuff of 0-0.8 mm size in order to provide the required agricultural medium.

Advantages of this method are low expenses in addition to the ease of cleaning whether for the Tuff itself as the agricultural medium of the plant, or for the used house.

 

2-      Agriculture using Styrofoam Pipes:

 

It is used for all types of soil-dependent agriculture and is particularly good for plants sensitive to soil diseases.

This method is considered simple and easy to implement. It is preferred to place the tuff of the coarse size (4-14) at the bottom of the pipe and the tuff of the size (0-8) in the agricultural layer of the Styrofoam bowl. In order to drainage the water outside the greenhouse, inclinations are followed as described in method (1) above. As previously mentioned, coarse tuff works to collect excess water from the plant's need for drainage

This method is characterized by the fact that the greenhouse, pipe incubator, is environmentally friendly and pure and has a low sensitivity to drainage water outside the greenhouse. In addition, separating the plant by planting it in separate pipes which prevents transmission of soil diseases among plants as a result of the contact of plants through the soil, As well as the extent of salinity effect (if any) on plants.

                                              

3-      Agriculture with pipes of semi-plastic slabs from Mobal or Polygal:

 

These pipes are made of mopal or polygal (slabs) by being placed in the plastic house or guard, and then its sides raised to a U-shaped bowl extending from the beginning of the house to the end. Separated by ways of services so that one house contains several rows of these pipes. lifting or folding of the pipes in order to form the sides have essentially indeterminate  dimensions, and can be implemented according to the farmer's desire and the type and intensity of agriculture, ensuring that there are sides (walls) to ensure that they will not be opened when using steel wire belts or belts at the bottom of The bowl.

 

The coarse tuff of size (14-14) shall be placed at the bottom of the pipe while the (agricultural medium) shall be placed at the top.

Advantages of this method are, as well as the advantages of the method of agriculture using Styrofoam Pipes, the price of pots manufactured on the greenhouse in this way is less expensive and ensure greater flexibility in the work in addition to the low cost of the unit of agricultural area (dunums).

4-      Agriculture without walls (Free pipes)

It is recommended to use this method for all types of flowers, in addition to ensure that the canals floor orientation is not less than 2% as minimum in order to ensure that the water is discharged outside the greenhouse. In order to ensure rapid drainage, pipe can be increased by 5-7 mm (according to the adopted drainage system).

This elevation can be achieved by using cheap local soil or sand. It should be emphasized that the path between the pipe and the other is also slanted to ensure that the water is discharged well.

If the tuff floor is to be separated from the ground for reasons related to the condition or quality of the ground used, one of the following methods can be used:

·        Using an ordinary plastic slide to place on the floor.

·        Using polystyrene or mopal layers, ensuring that these have inclinations within the limits indicated above.

·        Using this method, tuff shall be placed in pipes of 15- 20 cm, depending on the type of agriculture required. Advantages of this method can be summarized as follows:

·        Flexibility to diversify and exchange crops during successive seasons.

·        Easy handling and fast delivery without the need for many preparations.

·        Significant reduction in expenditures.

·        Easy cleaning and sterilization.

 

 

 

 

5-      Agriculture in buckets and plastic bags:

 

          This method is recommended for one-time crops such as telegreenium and various vegetables. This method is characterized by low cost, whereas prices of bags and buckets are reasonable. In addition that buckets can be used for many times, and the quantity of tillage does not exceed 35 cubic meters per dunum.

          The fact that separating among plants, as a result of growing them in separate bags or buckets, shall prevent contamination of plant root diseases (such as tomatoes), as it is recommended to use the tuff of (0-8 ml) size.

 

6-      Agriculture without isolation from the soil:

 

This method shall provide roots with the possibility of penetrating the layer of tuff, extension and branching in the natural ground, so it is characterized with same features of agriculture using Tuff and fixation or clinging to the ground, and is recommended to use such method for many field ornamental plants such as safari and wax, as well as in commercial crops such as fruit trees, apples and banana, which has obtained impressive results In terms of type and quantity.

In this method, Tuff shall not be considered as an isolated layer, it is considered as a factor of growth and improvement for the following reasons:

ü   The tuff shall create an additional ventilation environment in the root area.

ü The tuff shall strengthen core solubility in addition to provide easy absorption of micro elements.

ü The tuff shall maintain the soil temperature as a result of its porosity, which contains a measure of air which is considered as heat-insulated.

As a result of the overall impact of tuff in agriculture generally and whatever methods are used as detailed above, we believe that the tuff with its different uses has added a new dimension, so that part of the production in agriculture has become an economic industry that has left its mark on agricultural production in terms of quantity and quality.

By having the tuff, the farmer has acquired a multi-year infrastructure with flexibility that was not easy to obtain without the use of the tuff. This is in addition to the irrigation water and fertilization cost due to the tuff properties, which preserves moisture including fertilizer that exceeds the plants' need in order to return it when needed.

In this case, it is considered as clean and efficient warehouse that is easy to handle in all circumstances.

 

 

*Composition & Structure Properties:

Tuff is a volcanic material formed through the rapid cooling of magma (the hot fluid that left the inner part of the earth’s crust) when exposed to the atmosphere. It is divided chemically and mineralogical into three basic families that can be distinguished by color: black - red - yellow.

 

The following table shows the chemical composition of the three types of tuff (volume unit is 0.177 mm, units are: g / 100 g, unless otherwise stated)

 

 

Red

 

 

Black

 

 

Yellow

 

 

Composition

 

 

43.3

 

 

45.8

 

 

39.6

 

          SiO2

 

13.3

 

 

16.3

 

 

20.4

 

          Al2O3

 

9.8

 

 

3.6

 

 

13.9

 

          Fe2O3

 

2.20

 

 

7.6

 

 

1.4

 

          FeO

 

10.9

 

 

8.7

 

 

4.9

 

          CaO

 

4.3

 

 

7.3

 

 

5.7

 

          MgO

 

4.2

 

 

3.9

 

 

0.2

 

          Na2O

 

1.7

 

 

1.6

 

 

0.2

 

          K2O

 

2.5

 

 

2.20

 

 

3.0

 

          P

 

0.87

 

 

0.83

 

 

0.92

 

          F

 

0.06

 

 

0.06

 

 

0.06

 

          So3

 

0.07

 

 

0.2

 

 

0.15

 

          Si/(Al+Fe)

 

0.74

 

 

1.61

 

 

1.11

 

          LOI(*)

 

4.1

 

 

1.2

 

 

9.90

 

           

 

 

(*) Weight loss after heating up to 1000 degrees is due to water composition.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Characteristics of the internal surface of the three types of tuff (less than 0.177) indicated in the above table:

 

 

 

Red

 

 

Black

 

 

Yellow

 

 

Components

 

 

7.0

 

 

28.0

 

 

174.0

 

 

Specific internal surface (m 2 / g) 1

 

 

38.0

 

 

83.0

 

 

454.0

 

 

Specific internal surface (m 2 / g) 2

 

 

1.0

 

 

2.6

 

 

11.1

 

 

Hydroscope water 3

 

 

0.00

 

 

0.5

 

 

10.0

 

 

Ceramics 4

 

 

9.3

 

 

8.1

 

 

7.9

 

          pH(H2O)

 

7.8

 

 

6.60

 

 

6.60

 

          pH(IM-KCL)

 

 

 

1-                The specific internal surface was measured by the intensification of nitrogen mixed with helium at liquid nitrogen temperature (calculated by using BET method)

2-                The specific internal surface measured by the intensification of ethylene-glycol mono ethel-ether (E GME).

3-                Aerobically measure dry material (percentage of dry material weight of 1.5).

4-                Percentage of the adhered ceramic units through sedimentation.

5-                The acidity was determined by a tuff suspended solution (0.5 g) with distilled water or solution (25 ml per liter). The high part of the liquid was examined after an hour and a half of stirring.

 

The relatively high specific internal surface (in both methods), in addition to the characteristic porosity of the three types of tuff is due to the large amount of vacuums formed during the cooling of the magma, not because of the presence of ceramic.

The amount of ceramic in black and red tuff is negligible and does not affect the physical and chemical components at all. Whereas, the ceramic within the yellow tuff is belong to group 1: 1 (with different crystallized layers). This ceramic is not-puffy, so in the installation of such ceramic, physical structure remained stable and does not change with the change of humidity or salinity percentage. The acidity of any of the three types  of tuff is related to the testing method and is affected by the presence of compounds with variable internal charge in addition to that it is charged with a negative charge. As:

IM-Kcl            measured by solution

pH                  measured by water higher than ph

 

 

 

* Specific and volumetric uses of tuff:

 

 

Tuff Type

 

 

Volumetric weight Ton/ m3

 

 

Uses of Tuff

 

 

0-2

 

 

1.4 –  1.5

 

 

Soft Tuff for football courts

 

 

0-4

 

 

1.3 –  1.4

 

 

Grasses layers for gardens and sports courts

 

 

0-8 m

 

 

1.2 -  1.3

 

 

Agricultural layers for flowers, vegetables, spices and fruit trees

 

 

8 cm

 

 

1.3 -  1.4

 

 

layers for gardens

 

 

0-8 cm

 

 

1.10 -  1.2

 

 

Grinded tuff for agricultural mixtures and making blocks

 

 

4- 10

 

 

0.95 –  1.05

 

 

grinded and garbled tuff for agricultural and Hydroponikic mixtures

 

 

4- 14

 

 

0.9 -  1.0

 

 

Drainage of water in the agriculture canals, in the roof of gardens for covering, the beauty of the garden and in the shelters

 

 

20-19

 

 

0.85 -  0.95

 

 

Hydroponikic with household containers

 

 

Black tuff

 

 

1.10 -  1.3

 

 

Agricultural layers for safari and wax flower

 

 

Tuff sand

 

 

1.3 –  1.4

 

 

The tuff for cover and drill  piping - Sewage - Electricity - tiling

 

 

Coal Stones

 

 

 

 

 

tuff stones for gas and water-cooled furnaces

 

 

 

 

 

Tuff importance as an agricultural medium:

Interest in industrial agriculture began to grow at the beginning of the 1980s, whereas most of this attention was concentrated in the economically developed countries, despite the urgent need to capture the benefits of such methods and to benefit from its impressive effects on agricultural production in both quantity and quality in developing countries.

This may be due to the fact that the developed countries have economic potentials which enable it to continue research and expenditure until they reach results that ensure high local production, which is compensated for the small area available to agriculture compared to the population, which in turn forced the importation of many agricultural products in order to cover their food needs.

In addition, high cost of labor is actually related with the high living standard in general and the increased demand for these products have increased the interest of such countries in the search for relatively low-cost means or methods, which have an effective impact on both qualitative and quantitative productivity.

Focusing on such goal may be the reason for some Middle Eastern countries, that have the financial possibilities to spend on such development, to do their best to benefit from the results of developed countries with a focus on keeping costs as low as possible.

By end of 1980s, the problem of availability of water for human use had begun to leave its mark on some of these countries, to the extent that it negatively affected thinking of expanding agricultural areas, which were considered, in general, a main source of income per capita and state income. Whereas agricultural exports were a significant source of hard currency depending on the size of agricultural exports.

Therefore, it was necessary to find a radical solution that includes two main conditions:

a.     savings in the quantities of water used for agriculture

b.     Increase in production in order to cover the needs of the local market in addition to maintain foreign markets without the need to increase the area of agricultural land. Here, the importance of volcanic tuff as a Hydro-volcanic industrial soil has emerged. Scientific and practical experiments have proved that tuff characteristics meet the requirements of these two basic conditions. Tuff has the following advantages:

 

 

1)    Low consumption of water, despite the plant’s need for a larger number times of daily irrigation until savings in required water reached 50% in some cases.

2)    Larger quantity of production which reached 7 times the production in natural and even fertile lands in some cases.

3)    Additional savings in water and fertilizer consumed according to the need of agriculture using tuff and provide modern methods of irrigation and injections in order to ensure the success of agriculture.

4)    Savings in the cost of labor for agriculture as a result of using modern irrigation techniques, injections and software, which compensates the doubled increase in expenditure on modern technology over the long term.

5)    Savings in costs of insect control as tuff is considered as a volcanic material, non-biodegradable soil and less attractive to pests, in addition to being easy to sterilize, cleaning and drainage in case of being contaminated.

6)    Savings in the time of the Supervisory Authority as a result of the use of modern methods of irrigation and fertilization, which provides an opportunity for specialized engineers and supervisors to devote more time for development and scientific research, thus benefiting the overall agricultural operations.

7)    Greater flexibility in agriculture because of the ease transport from crop to another according to successive agricultural seasons and without the need of many steps to prepare and treat the soil as the volcanic tuff has proved its validity without the need for more efforts for more than 15 years.

 

The exorbitant expenditures that are needed to maintain a neutral environment for the natural agricultural environment are in vain and cannot be successful if the needs of the environment surrounding the root range of plants are being ignored.

The most important step can be passed by the human advanced in the fields of agriculture scientifically is to prepare the environment required for plants as required by the type of plant and its needs in order that this shall provide the ideal environment for the intended cultivation.

results of many scientific research in fields of agriculture were subjected at the disposal of the farmer in order to benefit from it, without resorting to mediation to ensure the provision of a suitable or ideal environment, especially around the root group, where the experience has proved that the industrial medium (such as the tuff) is more fortunate to ensure success.

It is worth to mention here that the economic factor or economic feasibility of investment in agricultural areas (a subject of high priority) has begun to impose volcanic tuff as the best solution for creating the suitable root environment for crops within minimum limits of required expenditures for its previously mentioned advantages.

In the past, till this day, the use of rapidly degradable organic materials (Compost & Manure), as well as other biologically resistant materials (Peat), has been common, whereas in some cases, organic granular materials such as sand or a mixed mixture of such ingredients are added. Such materials has proved effective despite the fact that it has not lost many of its disadvantages because it is an unstable mixture that changes in its data depending on the extent of the degradation it requires to change within a relatively short period of time. as soil mixtures and the soil itself are considered as dynamic system in which the property changes depending on the time, Resulting, at one time and without any warning, the inability of the soil to provide the roots of plants with necessary ventilation, and thus the difficulty of control irrigation and food supply, which may cause plants to die.

 

The industrial medium of agriculture (such as the tuff), if reinforced with modern irrigation methods and fertilizer injections, shall provide a solution. It maintains good moisture ratio and superficial tension with low pressure, which is consistent with high and stable radical ventilation. It weighs between 770-850 kg per cubic meter if it was dry, depending on the size of the constituent molecules of the agricultural elite (the size of tuff mixture).

In the case of compression, it weighs 2.8 g per square centimeter. This means that each cubic meter of tuff used as an industrial medium for agriculture contains (650-750) liters of air included in vacuums available between the tuff molecules that form the industrial layer. This, itself, is several times larger than the air in normal, well-ventilated soil. As tuff allows greater gas exchange and therefore it gives greater ease of cleaning and sterilization if necessary.

In addition, even the smallest molecules of the Tuff mixtures used in agriculture (size of 0-8), shall maintain at least 350 liters of water per cubic before the plant takes its maximum need of water during irrigation process. While the water-saturated medium maintains at least 300 liters of air after irrigation process.

Research conducted in the research centers has shown that the tuff within the mixture of size (0-8 mm) has a (Withering Point) of 10%.

Important Note: (Withering Point) is a measure of the amount of water that can be found in the weight unit of the agricultural medium material after plantings take its need of water.

Therefore, it is clear that there is abundant amount of water saved by using tuff, which is in the range of 150-250 liters per cubic meter of the tuff of normal moisture not long after the completion of irrigation process. This amount is much larger than the amount that normal soil can save.

 

* General Methods for Tuff Uses Inside Greenhouses: -

 

 Flowers, cut flowers, vegetative and seasonal crops are usually planted in tuff, of a progressive size (0-8 mm) whereas the ideal thickness for tuff is within 20 cm, It is placed in containers of foam polystyrene whether isolated or not from the mother soil.

The average area of the greenhouse specified to accommodate tuff containers is about 1000 m2 per 600 m2 occupied by containers, while the area of 400 m2 is free for services and roads within the greenhouse. If the tuff is placed in direct ground canals, whether it is isolated from the soil or not, it is preferred that canals to be between 20-30 cm and a depth of 20-25 cm so that the tuff layer will be of the size of 10-20 mm.

The drip irrigation method is used to irrigate agriculture and it is recommended that the irrigation system to be controlled by an automatic irrigation regulator linked with fertilizer injectors.

All crops with external root propagation, such as strawberries and many vegetables, can be planted even on concrete surfaces or rocky ground after being spread with a layer of tuff with high of 20-30 cm at least.

This also applies to palm trees in order to cover vast areas, even if the ground is concrete or rocky, after being spread with a layer of tuff as mentioned above.

* Properties of red tuff (0-10 mm): -

·     Clay                                                       0.30 %

·     Silt                                                         1.80 %   

·     Sand                                                      13.3 %

·     Particle Density                                       2.87 g/cm³

·     Bulk Density                                         0.89% g/cm³

·     Porosity                                                96.00%

·     Specific surface area                           3.800 mm2/g

 

*Cultivation with Tuff in Hydroponic Containers:

Houseplants are planted easily in the hydroponic pots or containers containing tuff of both sizes; coarse tuff on the bottom while soft tuff at the top.

All that we need in this case are closed pots filled with washed tuff, a Hygrometer and a simple specialized fertilizer regulator. This type of agriculture has many advantages:

·          There is no need for a special method of drainage

·          The pot shall be placed anywhere in the house without fear of wetting the carpet or surrounding area.

·          Plant care is very easy

·          Plants to be irrigated according to the hygrometer output every week or even twice every three weeks.

·          Providing plants with fertilizer once or twice throughout the year, as maximum.

·          Any plant can be grown in small pots, provided with steady rest in order to avoid falling in case the plant is heavy and high.

Coarse tuff of 10-20 mm can be used in this case without any reservation or additions of any kind of tuff used as a hydroponic medium.