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20 July 2023

What steps should I follow to get hail nets or rain caps in my orchard?

What steps should I follow to get hail nets or rain caps in my orchard?

Hail, rain, insects, sunburn and birds are still risks for your fruit farm. You want to mitigate those risks for a better selling price of your produce. And you want to give higher value and future-proof your farm. Hail nets and rain covers help you do just that. Hail nets and rain covers protect your fruit farm from hail, rain, insects, sunburn and birds! Only which steps do you need to go through to get hail nets or rain covers in your orchard? In this blog, we will walk you through all the steps and everything that is involved. So that for you the consideration and choice of hail nets and/or rain covers becomes easier and more reliable.

We will discuss:

  1. Orienting on fruit canopies;
  2. Consideration: which fruit canopy suits me;
  3. Purchasing: You have made the choice of a provider and particular hail net or rain canopy!
  4. Commitment to your hail net or rain canopy;
  5. In conclusion

Orienting on fruit canopies

In the search for hail nets or rain shelters, it is important to orientate yourself on the different canopies and different providers. Which fruit canopies are available and by whom? A lot of information is already available online about hail nets and rain shelters. While you are exploring, you can also approach suppliers and ask questions. If necessary, a representative can even come by and help you with the differences between the fruit covers of the various suppliers. It is good to orient yourself as broadly as possible. Which canopies have a lot of information? Which provider really tries to help you make a choice? Here are some links to different types of hail nets and rain shelters:

So while orientating, it is important to search online (via Google, for example) for all kinds of information about hail nets and rain covers. You can also call different providers to have questions answered and help you. You can also have a representative come by to help you.

PRO TIP: Have the orchard you want to cover with hail nets or rain covers GPS measured and 2D and 3D designed. This allows fruit canopy providers to give you an exact idea of the investment. Often, GPS measurements and 2D and 3D design are free if you later place an order with that provider. 

Consideration: which fruit canopy suits me?

If your orchard has not yet been GPS measured and 2D and 3D designed, it is important to have that done first. A good GPS drawing is half the battle. Any pipes, soil types and other matters can then be mapped out properly right away. This ensures that you will not be surprised afterwards! With a good GPS drawing, you can easily request proposals for your orchard from various suppliers of hail nets and rain covers. You will then receive a tailor-made proposal from each provider. This way, you can easily compare which fruit cover suits your orchard best. What should you consider when choosing a provider?

1. Fruit cover quality

Are the supplier's hail nets or rain covers storm-proof? Storm-resistant fruit canopies are characterised by proper post spacings and anchor spacings. The choice of wooden posts or concrete posts is also important. Only choose wooden posts if you are sure of the quality and the provider can guarantee it. Below are some links to information on wooden posts and concrete posts: 

2. Openness and understanding of prices

It is also important that the provider is transparent in its prices. An investment in hail nets or rain covers is no small thing. And when providers are not transparent in their prices, it creates uncertainty. You need to know in advance where you stand. Isn't that fair? 

Did you know, for example, that the total investment for 1 hectare of hail nets averages €33,500? And that for rain covers the average investment for 1 hectare is around €80,000? More insight into fruit canopy prices? Read all about our price here.

3. Lifetime fruit canopy

Given the investment in hail nets and rain covers, it is important that the lifespan or life time of a fruit cover is not short! The quality of a hail net or rain canopy and the guarantees a provider can give ensure that lifespan.  When you choose a solid construction, you are also less likely to need to replace or repair your hail nets. The same goes for rain shelters. If the basis is sound, the delivery time is significantly extended.

PRO TIP: Every fruit canopy suffers from wear and tear over the years. So maintain a fruit canopy properly. There are providers who carry out an annual system check to make sure your fruit canopy still meets all conditions.

4. Installation

Further on in this blog, we will take a closer look at the installation of fruit canopies and what is involved. When weighing up different suppliers, hail nets and rain covers, it is important not to forget the installation. Do you or can you install the fruit canopy yourself? Can the provider relieve you of all your worries or cooperate during installation? Take a good look at these options per provider and choose what works best for you. Read more about the installation of fruit canopies here.

5. Additional options

While weighing up which fruit canopy suits you best, it's a good idea to also look at the options for each provider. What about the roll-up/roll-down per year? Can you be relieved of this too? What about the maintenance of your hail net or rain cover? Can the headlands of your orchard also be covered and in what ways?

That is why it is again important to always have your orchard GPS measured and designed in 2D and 3D. You can then already see what the hail net or rain cover will look like when you consider the options and discuss them with the provider.

PRO TIP: Check in advance whether you need to apply for a permit from the municipality for your fruit canopy. There is a manual available that will save your time and energy for the permit application at the municipality. It is also a good idea to check whether any subsidies are available. Often providers know what subsidies are available or your representative can help!

Purchase: You made the choice of a provider and certain hail net or rain cover!

You have chosen a provider and a particular hail-net or foil roof. What steps do you all have to go through now or what will you have to deal with?

1. Payments

An investment (unfortunately) also involves payments. Each provider is different. Often it is like buying a house or new car. The provider works with down payments of a number of per cent of the total value of the order confirmation.  

Payments are an important factor in making the process run smoothly. The provider sees that you really want to invest in hail nets and rain caps and it is also a token of appreciation to the provider.

2. Delivery

You will also have to deal with deliveries of materials. Wooden poles may come from Portugal, concrete poles and hail nets from Italy and other materials from other countries. So you can expect different trucks with materials. What is important in deliveries?

Strong forklift

Concrete piles often weigh 1,000 to 2,000 kilos per package. So your forklift should be able to lift at least that weight at height. If you don't have a forklift truck, you might be able to borrow one from your neighbours or hire one from a nearby company. If you do have a forklift truck, but it is not as strong? It is also possible to pack the concrete posts in smaller quantities. Wooden posts weigh about as much as concrete posts, so a heavy forklift truck with at least 2.0 tonnes capacity is definitely a requirement!

Different countries

You can expect different trucks carrying materials. Take this into account in your planning. There will be trucks with drivers who do not always speak your language. For example, concrete posts will come directly from Italy, wooden posts directly from Portugal (or other countries) and materials directly from the manufacturer.

Timely information

Your supplier can give you timely information about deliveries. They often know about 1 week in advance on which day a delivery will take place. Towards the delivery day, the supplier can also inform you better about the time. There are also transport companies that call you 1 day in advance to announce the delivery and often arrive 30 minutes before. This gives you enough time to prepare for unloading the materials.

Checking delivery

It is also important to check that the materials delivered are correct according to the order confirmation. The supplier sends you a dispatch note with the materials and the driver also has an overview of the materials intended for you. This is because it often happens that there are several delivery addresses in 1 truck. The pallets or bundles are sorted per delivery address, but it is always good to check whether you are not taking too much or too little out of the truck. You can also check whether the supplier of the hail nets or rain covers has sent sufficient materials. If anything is missing or too much has been delivered, it can be dealt with immediately.

PRO TIP: Not quite sure, or don't know exactly which materials are described on the shipping note? Video call your supplier and he will help you explain the materials.

Did you know that delivery times in mid-season are sometimes longer than out of season? Discuss this carefully with the supplier of the hail nets or rain covers. They can give you more insight into delivery times of materials and expected delivery times.
 

3. Installation or mounting

When all or some of the materials have been delivered, the project can begin. Which installation option did you choose when purchasing the hail-net or rain canopy? In general, there are 4 options for the installation of a fruit canopy. You can read all about them here. Briefly, these are listed below:

  1. Complete unburdening by an assembly company;
  2. Guidance by cooperating with an assembly company;
  3. Advice during construction by experienced assembly specialist;
  4. Building yourself.

Contract work (pressing piles and turning anchors)

All 4 options require contract work. Pile pressing and anchor turning cannot be done by yourself. Loonbedrijf D&W vriend and Loonbedrijf G.J. van Doorn are experienced contractors for the contract work of hail nets and rain covers. In the case of complete unloading by an assembly company, they will arrange the contract work for you. With the other options, you can also arrange a contractor yourself. However, sometimes it is easier to just let the supplier arrange the contract work. This has to do with the following:

Important for the contract work is a GPS drawing and a DWG plotting document. This ensures that the contractor puts everything in the right place and can work faster. It is also important that the provider is there at the start of the contract work to check everything and get it right.

PRO TIP: Do you have a new orchard to plant? If so, trenching can be included by the contractor right away. This saves costs and lowers the investment.

Aerial platform

A fruit canopy is often installed at a height of 4.0m or 4.5m. An aerial platform with a minimum working height of 3.0 m is certainly necessary during installation. If you are completely relieved by an installation company, you do not need an aerial platform at this time. In this article, you can find examples of aerial platforms that you can use during the installation of hail nets and rain covers. Sometimes you can also rent aerial platforms, but our advice is to buy one. After all, this will come in handy later.

Machines and equipment

If you are going to build or co-build your fruit canopy yourself, it is also important to have all the machinery and tools needed during installation. Having the machinery in good order saves a lot of time during installation. What machinery and tools do you need besides a boom lift?

  • A tractor with a lifting mast;
  • A flatbed truck for transporting materials.
  • A boom lift with minimum working height of 3.0m.
  • Forklift/ telescopic handler for unloading and transporting materials.
  • Unwind rack and steel tube for unrolling hail net or foil.
  • Wire unwinder.
  • Hand pliers 2 tonnes with tension clamps;
  • Felco wire cutters;
  • Impact spanner and impact plugs and screwdriver.
  • Standard tools such as spade, mallet, etc.

PRO TIP: There are suppliers of hail nets and rain covers that have many useful tools to make assembly easier. A detailed with all assembly steps, GPS designs and DWG plotting documents, 3D animation videos and Whatsapp guidance.


Receive immediately our simple
manual with all the fundamental tips and tricks
for building fruit protection systems!

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Handboek hagelnetten


Use

Your fruit canopy (hail net or rain hood) is installed and you can enjoy harvest protection and future-proofing. Only what are the recurring costs/issues you as a fruit grower need to consider?

This is because most fruit canopies need to be in a summer mode and winter mode. You can do this by rolling up and unrolling the hail nets or foils. In winter mode, the system is rolled up and in summer mode it is unrolled. Rolling up and unrolling fruit canopies also extends their lifespan! This is because the hail net or foil is safely stored and damage from wind and storms is prevented. The recurring cost is therefore the labour involved in rolling up and unrolling your fruit canopy. Every year, this costs a number of man hours per hectare. A boom lift that can steer and accelerate automatically gives more speed in rolling up and unrolling. Read all about rolling up and unrolling here.

There may also be damage caused by personnel, machinery or weather conditions during the season, for example. While rolling up and unrolling, you can immediately perform the necessary maintenance on your hail net or rain cover. 

Different materials are used for rolling up and unrolling. For hail nets, winterfix is a good product and for foil canopies, wieselfix. These products can wear out over the years. Easily order these products online: Webshop.

PRO TIP: Want to outsource the rolling up and unrolling of your fruit canopy and the necessary maintenance? There are providers who can completely relieve you of this task!

Commitment to your hail net or rain hood

Fruit canopies, such as hail nets and rain covers, are becoming increasingly important in the future of fruit growing. Changing weather conditions are making it increasingly important to prevent damage to fruit. Hail and rain are proven to be increasingly common. You can deny climate change, only some weather conditions are increasing.

Keeping up with the latest developments is therefore very important. Stay up to date through your provider's website, social media, trade shows and newsletters. Perhaps there are developments that are essential for your fruit canopy. For example, the automation of hail nets and rain covers so you can spend even less time on your fruit cover.

Innovation suppliers of hail nets and rain covers are constantly developing newer tools and training to prepare you for the expected weather conditions. Some useful tools that are already available now:

Weather Stations

Weather stations take worries away from you as a fruit grower. Irrigating, preventing diseases and preparing for frost? Weather stations combined with fruit canopies give you even more harvest security (Read more here).

Hand sewing machine

Recently, a hand sewing machine (type: RJW1222) is also available for fruit cultivation. Repairs to hail nets and foils can easily be done yourself. This benefits the lifespan of your fruit canopy! (Read more here).

Frostflaps

Rain covers, such as the Powerflex Foil System, can be fitted with frost flaps. This ensures that on cold nights your fruit canopy helps even more against frost in the orchard (Read more here).

So keep up to date with the latest developments through the website, social media and newsletters of the various providers. Talk to them at trade shows and through representatives. This can only benefit you.

PRO TIP: Did you know that some fruit canopies are insurable? If you want to have your system insured contact your supplier. He can help you further!

In conclusion

We have gone through with you the steps you will encounter when buying hail nets or rain covers (foil canopies). First of all, it is important to choose a solid, high-quality fruit canopy that suits you and gives you that future-proof capability. You don't want your fruit canopy to collapse and leave you even further from home (Read more here), do you?

Are hail, rain, frost, insects, sunburn and birds still risks for your fruit business? What do you do about your trip to hail nets or rain caps? Discuss the biggest risks with your crop protection advisor and together make a plan to protect your crop.

  1. Make an appointment
  2. Make a plan together
  3. Enjoy crop security!

When your hail net or rain cover needs replacement years from now, you can read this blog again😊


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!

P.S. 

Download the hailnet building manual worth €100 now for free!

P.S.S

Our 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!

P.S.S.S

Are you ready for your first offer yet?

Use this link for free GPS measurements and a 2&3D design of your plot! (worth €999,-)

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