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28 April 2023

What is the best multi-row hail net system?

What is the best multi-row hail net system?

It is well known that the fruit growing sector faces many challenges. We don't need to stress anymore how much stress and damage hail can cause for you as a fruit grower. However, there are also incredibly beautiful aspects of the profession, such as the freedom and working outside in nature. Think of the blossom in spring, seeing the fruit growing in summer and harvesting towards autumn. There is also a lot of innovation in the sector. The Netherlands and Belgium are important countries in the world when it comes to growing apples and pears. Where else are so many tonnes of fruit grown per hectare? Innovations continue and new inventions are made every time. For instance, around 15 years ago, the development of the three-row hail net system was introduced. The first systems were the Munckhof Fruit Tech Innovators with red-green machines and KWH with blue-and-yellow machines that appeared in orchards. Later, of course, several brands entered the market, such as Hol Spraying Systems (H.S.S) and Wanner.

These innovations are already unimaginable in the orchard. Currently, most innovations in fruit growing are done in so-called precision farming, where each tree is cared for individually. There is also plenty of experimentation in spray technology with task maps and spraying per tree.

PS: Read the bonus at the end of this blog to keep up to date with all the developments in fruit growing!

Introduction of the three-row sprayer

The introduction of three-row sprayers saved a lot of time. Large areas can now be protected faster and just-in-time by spraying at the right time. The introduction of the three-row sprayer also had implications for orchard layout. How do you work with a three-row sprayer if you also want to provide hail nets? This topic also came up at fruitteeltbedrijf Van Westreenen. This company was the first to invest in a multi-row hail net that can also be worked under with the three-row sprayer. FruitSecurity GmbH developed the system and it was sold by the then dealer of Nifterik Holland.

In the early years, there was a lot of scepticism against this system. Today, however, this system has become indispensable in orchards. The three-row system was first built flat. The hail can no longer penetrate the net, but stays on the net and melts away. Another disadvantage was the wearing out of the nets on the cross wires. However, FruitSecurity GmbH was convinced this could be solved. Rupert Matzer, owner of Fruitsecurity GmbH and fruit grower, himself had a system in place that had served this way for more than 25 years. These objections were all removed. Meanwhile, many hectares are being fitted with 'flat' hail nets.

flat hail net system

How does a multi-row system work?

Flat hailnets or multi-row systems have the posts in every third row. This allows working with a three-row spray. The disadvantage is that in the two rows where there are no long posts, extra posts are needed for support. If you are a fruit grower thinking of buying a three-row sprayer in the future, or are you hesitating whether to go straight to a spray robot? With a three-row system, you are always in the right place. Flat systems have the advantage that there is about 10 per cent less net on them than with the rooftop systems. Flat systems can also be converted to an automatic hailnet system.

Flat hail nets operate on the principle that the poles and wire structure are rotated on the orchard. What does this mean? In traditional hail nets, the poles are in each row with a row spacing of often 3 or 3.5 metres. The distance between the rows of poles usually varies between 7 and 10 metres. In flat systems, this is reversed: the poles are spaced 3 or 3.5 metres apart in the rows and the distance between the long rows of poles is usually between 9 and 10 metres. This is called rotated.

Since the introduction of the flat hail net system by Fruitsecurity in 2010, several other brands have started offering multi-row systems in their range.

Frustar: 3-Reihen-Systeem

Frustar was the second brand to also launch a multi-row system and was represented at the time by Agrifirm, who have built several systems. The Frustar system differs from all other brands on the market in that the long poles do not line up every 3 or 3.5 metres, but every 6 metres. The system is also not flat, but has so-called "roofs". Frustar's 3-Reihen-System is often built on wooden posts.

Today, Frustar is represented in the Netherlands and Belgium by Hilco Strik of the company Netteam. Strik Fruits Services also operates in the market as a brand name.

Netteam works with an external construction group and Wim Pellegrom often builds the hail netting systems for Netteam.

Valente: Spindel

Valente is an Italian brand of hail nets and offers a flat system for multi-row hail nets in the Netherlands and Belgium. Although the system cannot be found on the Italian and international website, it is offered in the programme of Hermens Fruitsystems, Valente's importer in the Netherlands and Belgium.

Hermens Fruitsystems is based in Beek, Limburg and has more than 25 years of experience in fruit canopies and systems. In the Betuwe, Valente systems are sold by Rijnvallei Plantaardig, which works with Hermens Fruitsystems. Hermens sells Valente's Spindle system under the name: Multiple Protect Hail System

Valente systems are mainly built on concrete piles, which are placed each row at intervals of between 3 and 3.5 metres. Hermens works with an external construction group, with Steyn Kavelaars building many systems for Hermens and Valente.

Baywa 

Baywa is a German brand of hail nets and has had a flat system in its range for several years.

Frutec represents Baywa in Belgium and is headed by Bart Deveux and Hugo Pirlo. Frutec works with its own palm printing machine and operates only in Belgium, mainly in the Sint Truiden region. Induma BVBA is a company supplying fruit growing machines and is affiliated to Frutec BVBA.

Baywa's multi-row system is a flat hail net and has posts every third row. The system is usually built on concrete piles. Frutec works with an external construction group, with Koen Francis of Elko Fruit doing contract work to build hail nets in Belgium.

Fruit Support Europe: FS3-systeem

Fruit Support Europe has had its own brand system called FS3 System in the catalogue. This is a three-row hail net that is not built flat but with roofs. The long poles are placed in every third row and are 6 metres apart. Teus van 't Foort and Frans Angelino represent the brand in the Netherlands, while Pieter van Nifterik and Dennis van de Kolk represent Belgium.

The FS3 system is built on concrete.

Whailex

Whailex is a completely different system. The nets are installed on the ridge wire and a tube is installed at the bottom to roll up the nets easily. Whailex is also mentioned in this review because it allows the three-row sprayer to work over the nets.

Whailex used to be sold by Maurice Bouwens of Bofix, but is now sold by Fruit Support Europe. Whailex can be self-assembled, but construction crews are also available to install the system.

Whailex

In conclusion

In this blog, we have listed the main suppliers of fruit canopies operating in the Netherlands and Belgium. As a fruit grower, you want only the best for your business. Good harvest protection is invaluable because it not only contributes to being able to harvest good produce, but also to peace of mind. Therefore, choose only what suits you and use this blog to make the right choice!

The bonus:

I send a weekly e-mail with all the secrets of canopies, the crop protection market and crop protection tips. These valuable tips and information will help you protect your harvest and optimise your business. This keeps you up to date with developments in fruit growing. You can unsubscribe at any time. Click here to subscribe!


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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