Uggiate Trevano-based Arrigoni Group has announced the development of a new product, Protecta, to aid cherries in the fights against the elements.
The technical textiles specialist says that Protecta helps fight off the negative effects of excessive rainfall as well as the attack of harmful insects, such as the Drosophila Suzukii and other species.
Protecta is made of high tenacity Arlene HT monofilament and contains special additives to increase its durability and favour the sliding of rain outside rows. The resulting mesh fabric is very dense (39 threads per square centimeter), which allows to break up the drop and reduce the passage of water by about 90 per cent.
“Until now, damage from rain on cherries was prevented by means of plastic film covers," explained Giuseppe Netti, agronomist at Arrigoni. "In several cases this solution produces satisfactory results. However, it is not 100 per cent effective. This is due to the fact that a totally "waterproof" product reduces the air passage (which remains only in the horizontal direction) and favours a moist environment on sunny days, altering the microclimate of the orchard and causing an excess of humidity. Consequences are damage or reduction of the harvest. Moreover, such a cover can cause serious damage to the structure in the event of strong winds.
“Arrigoni research has thus developed a specific innovative product: Protecta," he continued. "This is a new concept of coverage which guarantees multiple advantages: reduction in the percentage of water flow; maintaining sufficient air flow and a good microclimate; high mechanical strength; long life (over six years in Italy); hail, wind, frost and sun protection."
To combine the advantages of a safe rain protection with those of excluding the most invasive insect species from orchards, Arrigoni has also developed the Protecta System.
In this case, the rainproof fabric is complemented by the side protection provided by Biorete screens, which are effective in preventing harmful insects from reaching the crops and causing damage in fruit-growing.
The insect protection system consequently reduces the need for pesticides, with solutions that manage to counter the attacks of Drosophila Suzukii and other harmful insects.
"For these highly technological proposals, we combined great ease of installation and collection operations,"Netti added. "For example, with Protec\df installed row by row, Bior screens must simply be rolled up, otherwise the plants are always sheltered and protected."