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12 April 2023

Hailnets: Effective protection for crops

Hailnets: Effective protection for crops

Weather can have a major impact on crop yields and quality. For example, hailstorms can cause major damage to crops. Fortunately, several methods have been developed to protect crops from these extreme weather events. One of the most effective methods is the use of hail nets. Hail nets were developed in the regions of Italy and Austria, as crop insurance became far too expensive. An additional disadvantage is that if the crop is destroyed by hail, there is also no product for the customer.

What are hail nets?

Hail nets are nets placed over crops to protect them from hailstones. These nets are usually made of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and have a density of 40 to 80 grams per square metre. This material is strong enough to stop hailstones, but allows enough light and air to pass through so as not to hinder crop growth and development. Hail nets hang in the sun all day, and degradation by sunlight is a big factor in their lifespan. This lifespan can be increased by incorporating good UV resistance into the material. The UV resistance of hail nets and other plastics is indicated by the KLY value. However, the KLY value does not say everything about the lifespan of the hail nets. In the production of the hail nets, the threads are made of PEHD. Polyethylene is not UV-resistant by itself. Additives are added to the raw material. In black and grey nets, this additive goes through the entire raw material. It is completely absorbed by the material. Hail nets with the so-called Crystal colouring, however, have a different chemical composition. The additive, the substance that determines the KLY value, ends up on the outside of the yarn. The major disadvantage of this is that it makes the nets more brittle. Therefore, an optimal composition that gives sufficient UV protection but also retains sufficient flexibility is necessary!

Hail net with hail

How do hail nets work?

Hail nets work in the simple way that they stop hailstones before they can hit crops. Usually the hail gets stuck in the netting and will melt out. In cases with extreme hail, hail may fall out of the net in the gutter above the grass strip. Hail nets are suspended from a wire structure stretched above the crop.

Benefits of hail nets

The use of hail nets offers several benefits for crop protection. First, hail nets provide effective protection against hailstones, preventing crop damage and preserving crop yield and quality. Secondly, hail nets can also protect against other extreme weather conditions, such as high winds and heavy rainfall. Thirdly, hail nets reduce the use of chemical pesticides because less damage is done to crops, lowering the cost of growing crops. Fourth, hail nets provide excellent protection against sunburn. Hail nets filter out the sun's brightest rays, protecting the crop from sunburn.

Installation and maintenance of hail nets

Installing hail nets requires some planning and expertise. It is important to install the nets in the right way so that they provide optimal protection to the crops. A well-thought-out plan before installing the nets is essential. A well-built hail net system will last for decades. The nets do wear out, but they can be replaced. Light nets, such as crystal nets, need to be replaced about every 10 years, while grey nets last about 15 years. Black nets have a longer lifespan and can last 18-20 years.

Download the manual here: Building hail nets in 3 stepsBasic manual hail net systems

click here!

Conclusion

Hail nets are an effective method of protecting crops against hailstorms and reduce the impact of hail, sunburn and other external damage.


Gerben van Veldhuizen - FruitSecurity Holland

Gerben van Veldhuizen

CEO & fruitprotection specialist

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!

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