Hail is one of the worst threats affecting fruit growers and producers of table grapes in particular. A whole season can be ruined in just a few minutes. Arrigoni, the group that leads the international market in the production of agrotextiles for farming, offers good, effective solutions for combating this problem.
First and foremost: Fructus®, a full line of coverings for protecting vineyards from adverse weather, with added safeguards against fungal diseases. To meet special requirements, depending on geographical area, Fructus® can be combined with the Agritela® Riflex mulching reflective ground covering for even higher performances. Last but not least, Iride®, a run-proof anti-bird and anti-hail netting, with a light, elastic mesh for easy adaption to many types of vineyard and orchard.
In the last decade, in Italy alone, hail has caused farmers damage worth around 14 billion euros (source: Coldiretti), including loss of crops and damage to structures and infrastructures on the land. Fructus® is the range of anti-hail coverings developed by Arrigoni for table grape producers and fruit growers in general, capable of playing a crucial role in preventing damage from increasingly common adverse weather events and in containing other potential threats to these crops.
The Fructus® line comprises three types of nets recommended for protecting table grape vineyards: Fructus® 2,6/3 Trasparente, Fructus® 2,6/3 Grigia, and Fructus® 5/4. The first net enables better ventilation and a reduction in fungal diseases. It also has a lower shading factor.
Fructus® Grigia is an anti-hail net with transparent warp and black weft, which guarantees better protection against sunburn and an ideal level of shade for protecting grapes in very sunny environments. It prevents over-ripening and yellowing of white grapes.
Finally, Fructus® 5/4, with hole size 3.4×2.3mm, also ensures better wind speed reduction (meaning less water evaporation and less risk of torn tendrils). It also has a good shading factor and is generally used on seedless table grapes.
A high level of protection against hail, as well as against birds, is also provided by Iride®, a net with light elastic mesh with intrinsic characteristics that allow easy adaptation to many types of vineyard or orchard. Arrigoni makes two solutions available on this line: Iride® Base, green in colour and with hole dimensions 7.1×6.2mm and weight of 34g per square metre; and Iride® Due, already widely used with great success in tunnels and greenhouses, with hole dimensions of 7.1×6.2mm and weight of 46g per square metre.
To further improve the vineyard or orchard environment, Arrigoni also offers Agritela® Riflex, a mulching reflective ground covering which helps to keep the ground moister and cooler even in the hot summer months, thus also enabling water saving. The better light conditions provided produce a bigger percentage of large grapes, a higher yield, a better skin colour and the accumulation of more nutritional polyphenol compounds in the grapes.
Arrigoni agronomist Milena Poledica explained: “Table grape growing requires above all high quality levels, tailored to customers’ preferences, and continuity of output so the retail chains can be supplied year-on-year. Hail can have devastating effects on crops and it has now become a fairly frequent event: in summer last year, an average of three hailstorms a day were recorded in Italy alone. The right net (more or less dense) will depend on the variety grown and the production area. For example, vigorous varieties with large tendrils, such as seedless grapes, should be protected with a denser net, to ensure that the tendrils cannot growth through it. Arrigoni’s Fructus® and Iride® ranges have been developed to meet all growing needs.”