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8 June 2023

Hail cannon or hail nets?

Hail cannon or hail nets?

You want to invest in harvest protection for your orchard. Harvest security through harvest protection. Is it better to invest in a hail gun or hail nets? With increasingly extreme weather conditions, hail is becoming more common. To protect your fruit, you can insure it only then you are left with the damage. To counter local hail, you can deploy hail cannons or hail nets. Only which investment is better?

How does a hail cannon protect your fruit?

A hail cannon tries to stop hail formation in showers. A hail cannon operates on acetylene gas together with nitrogen and oxygen. About half an hour in advance of an expected thunderstorm, a hail cannon should be triggered. On average every 7 seconds, the cannon then shoots shock waves into the air. The shock waves should ensure that the water droplets in the air do not freeze and therefore cannot become hail. A hail cannon produces an average bang of 140 dB. When there is a chance of hail, you as a fruit grower can activate your hail cannon to protect your orchard and your fruit from hail. Whether an anti-hail cannon really works has not been proven. Tests were conducted in Italy and concluded that there was actually no difference in hail damage between protected and unprotected orchards. A hail cannon with an investment of between €30,000 and €40,000 "protects" on average one square kilometre.

There are many laws and regulations attached to using a hail cannon in practice. This is because local residents can also be greatly inconvenienced by the loud bangs produced by the anti-hail cannon.

Conclusion: The exact functioning of a hail cannon has not been proven. As a fruit grower, do you want to invest between €30,000 and €40,000 with the chance that your harvest will still be damaged by hail?

A hail cannon (photo: Augustin Mallet | Wikimedia Commons)

How do hail nets protect your fruit?

Hail nets work in the simple way that they stop/capture hail over your fruit crops. The fallen hail, which would otherwise have damaged your fruit, stays in the hail nets and melts away. With extreme hailstorms, the hailstones can also be discharged into the grass lane between the rows of trees. With hail nets, it is important that a solid structure is placed in the orchard. This is so that the system does not collapse during the extreme weather conditions. Compared to a hail cannon, hail nets have other advantages for the fruit trees besides the advantage of stopping hail. Hail nets provide protection against sunburn and reduce the use of pesticides. The average investment for one hectare of hail net cover is €33,500. Compared to a hail cannon, the investment in hail nets is 10 times higher.

There are also laws and regulations attached to the use of hail nets in practice. This mainly has to do with any zoning plan. Download 3 practical tips for getting a permit when setting hail nets here.

Download our free manual here!

Handboek hagelnetten

Conclusion: The effectiveness of hail nets has been proven in practice. For an average investment of €33,500 per hectare, your crop is fully protected against hail. Besides hail, hail nets have additional advantages over a hail cannon. However, the investment in hail nets is much higher than the investment in hail cannons.


Protect against hail

It is a disaster when crops are hit by hail. A single hailstorm can already result in heavy financial losses. Lower yields due to crop losses, extra picking, sorting and spraying costs. It is also emotionally tough for you as a fruit grower to see all that year's work evaporated in minutes. The number of thunderstorms has been rising for decades and the number of thunderstorms with hail is also increasing. More risk for your as a fruit grower! In this blog, I have given an insight into hail cannons and hail nets. I hope this article contributes to being able to harvest the most beautiful and delicious fruit.


Rick Mudde - English

Rick Mudde

Product specialist fruit canopies

My mission is to help as many fruit growers as possible get a good harvest.

So that fruit damage can be prevented, no delivery problems occur, and fruit growers can harvest successfully!