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France: Growers take cover from vagaries of weather
The rain protection covers have helped in minimising losses experienced by fruit growers in the past.
According to Thomas Piou of IDMAT, growers have been forced to explore the best means of dealing with unpredictable weather patterns and the covers have come in handy. “The seasons are changing, and fruit crops are exposed to the effects of extreme weather. By combining the protection of anti-hail netting and rain covers, growers are assured of a good harvest as they are also able to control fruit quality,” explains Piou.
IDMAT which grows apples and cherries on 70 hectares adopted the rain covers several years ago having experienced the effects of erratic weather patterns. Based on its own protection needs, and after testing the systems already on the market, Piou says IDMAT decided to venture into manufacturing its own structures, tailored to the needs of fruit growers, back in 2000.
“Our covers can be used to protect all kinds of fruits and vegetables, as these crops are directly exposed to a variety of climate-related hazards, whether it’s hail, wind, sun or insects. Cherries, strawberries, redcurrants and blackcurrants are, however, the most vulnerable,” adds Piou.
According to Piou, one of IDMAT rain protection systems’ advantages, is the fact that they aren’t as expensive as greenhouses. Their adaptability to suit every need is also an added advantage.
“The IDMAT system consists of a fixed structure of posts, wire rope and anchors, and modular elements of netting and rain covers. This allows the system to adapt to all requirements separately or together, giving protection against rain, hail, sun, insects and wind,” adds Piou.
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