The frequent temperature drops of the past few weeks in southern Italy have significantly delayed the 2022 cherry campaign. However, there are some who have started harvesting the first fruits in Apulia, thanks mainly to the innovative thermoplastic film PolyFilm Ultra and the side reinforcement technique. This enables the creation of a ventilation corridor at the center of rows of up to one meter, which helps regulate temperature and humidity inside the cover. The film is manufactured by Retilplast, a company from Campania that produces, processes and commercializes nets, films and tarpaulins.
FreshPlaza has talked about it with Walter Ruggia, technological innovation manager, after he visited a few orchards in the Bari province. "This is the seventh year our clients have managed to harvest the first cherries early, even in years that seem particularly difficult when it comes to the weather."
"Despite the general delay caused by the thermal shocks, little has changed for our clients. Operations started on April 21st (compared with the 12th-13th of the past season) for early variety Early Lory. Initial wholesale quotations were of around €35/kg. Harvesting is halfway through for this cultivar, with a current sale quotation of €25/kg."
Cherry orchard in the Bari province
"The harvesting of the Sweet variety in Apulia started on April 28th. Covers remain entirely closed even now that the sun is shining and temperatures have improved. They are only opened a little at the side to improve air ventilation. The central ventilation corridor is only opened during blossoming (around mid-March)."
Drawing of the central ventilation corridor
PolyFilm-Ultra is an innovative thermoplastic film made of multiple layers thanks to high-performance polymers and additives placed within the layers themselves. "This technique guarantees high diffused light, excellent transparency (total transmittance in the PAR between 400 and 700 nm) and the passing of UV rays (A and B 280÷400nm). These three elements convey high photosynthesis efficiency with an increase of production volumes. In addition, Polyfilm-Ultra protects the crops during the most delicate phases, but it especially stimulates awakening and warms the entire environment."