An innovative anti-rain and anti-hail system that does not require the opening and closing of nets was presented at Zoli in Faenza (Ravenna). The 'keep in touch' system features special nets made by Boscato Reti.
"The great innovation is the fact that the nets do not need to be closed and reopened for winter, as they are designed in an entirely new way. They are dual-layer nets rather than plastic films," explains technical manager Mario Tonioni.
Click here for the photo galleryA moment during the technical meeting on 30/09/2020
The main characteristic is the fact that the dual breathable nets (patent no. 0001422628) have a high resistance to UV rays and breakage. "Nets can withstand 10 cm of wet snow and 30 cm of dry snow. When the load is exceeded, the system auto-protects with the breakage of plastic snap-hooks. You just need to replace them and the system returns fully-functional. We guarantee that they last for the entire useful life of the orchard, i.e. 12-15 years."
Click here for the photo galleryView of the Zoli solution covering 2 hectares
Producers mainly require resistance to wind. "We used posts made of Portugal pine tree that are much more resistant than traditional cement or wooden ones. In this case, they measure 4.50 meters, 70 cm of which is in the ground. The nets are instead placed at 3.60 meters."
Click here for the photo galleryMario Tonioni
The rain is drained between rows. The domes at the center have a triple function: they protect plants against rain and hail, prevent wind damage and lower the temperature. "Under these patented nets, the temperature is 5-6°C lower than outside. Nets are breathable, so there is no condensation. If completely closed, they form an excellent anti-insect barrier and they also work against frost."
Click here for the photo galleryFertigation and anti-frost system
The opinion of a producer
Paolo Zoli manages a company covering approximately 40 hectares. This new system covers almost two hectares. "I will plant the trees in March. I am considering whether to plant red and/or golden kiwifruit, or a male kiwifruit orchard for pollination. Thanks to the technical assistance provided by Terremerse, I have already installed the fertigation and anti-hail systems. I chose this system after analyzing the costs and benefits compared to other systems. While it is true that the cost is slightly higher in the beginning, I will save a lot of money in the long run."
Click here for the photo galleryPaolo Zoli
"You save money because the nets do not need replacing and not only because there is no need to open or close them. Without mentioning that agronomic management is more efficient, with shading starting at 18% and reaching 25%, but with a good diffused light. The quality of fruit productions is not affected by it. A traditional anti-rain plastic film must be replaced after 5 years, while these nets do not."
Click here for the photo gallerySides closed with anti-insect nets
The design must adapt to the area where nets are to be installed. In Piedmont, for example, they must be more resistant as it snows more, while standard nets are enough in the Faenza area. In southern Italy, the risk of snow is even lower. "Once again, one of the secrets is the use of the special wooden posts. They are highly-resistant to twisting, even at considerable heights. In addition, their resistance increases the shorter they are. Anyone interested can get in touch to learn more."