In this edition of our “Valente Solutions” column we’ll talk about the “Anti-Rain Multishield + Wayki®” system, taking a close look at the solutions designed for two customers specialised in the cultivation of cherries and kiwis in the provinces of Bologna and Cremona.
The main needs that the customers had were:
- Produce quality fruit (size and colour).
- Protect it against cracking.
- Find a system that can best guarantee the fruit’s ripening process without having to deal with the problems of changed climatic conditions created by fixed covers.
- Have a system that’s easy to open and close.
Traditionally, for these types of crops the fruit is protected by a structure consisting of pre-compressed reinforced concrete posts to which cables, hoods, plates and elastics are secured to support the anti-rain film.
The sheets of film are then opened manually once the flowers are pollinated, leaving the plants covered until the end of the fruit harvest.
However, these conditions are not optimal and create problems both for the plants (the humid air under the film facilitates the growth of monilinia) and the fruit (epicarp that is less thick and tender).
In contrast, the Multi Shield system consists in a structure of pre-compressed reinforced concrete posts positioned at a greater distance from each other in the row. Hoods are placed on this fully-anchored structure and wires and cables are tautened to create a sort of “track” that the sheets of anti-rain film can slide on.
These films, cut to the same size as the distance between the poles and attached to the cable “rails” with special rings and plates, are very easy to slide open and closed.
This way the cover can be managed much like an umbrella, opening it when there’s a risk of rain and keeping it closed when the weather conditions are favourable to the ripening of the fruit, giving it more colour and sugar.
Indeed, the operation is so simple that two people can open and close the anti-rain films at any time, making this system versatile, practical and cost effective.
The process of opening and closing the films can be automated with the installation of the mechanised Wayki® system, making this operation even faster and more effective, a single worker being able to open or close the covers for one hectare of land in less than one hour.
The Wayki® system is powered by a normal electric drill inserted into a device on the head posts, which drives the mechanism installed on the rows of posts.
With regard to the fields of application, the Multishield system is suitable for both small fruits and large kiwi or cherry orchards, with a maximum height above ground of 5 metres.
The characteristics of this system also make it multifunctional, that is, it is able to perform several functions at the same time.
Let’s see what they are:
- Anti-hail (rain films can also protect against hail)
- Anti-wind (the fabric acts as a barrier against the wind, decreasing damage to the fruit)
- Thermoregulating (the fabric provides excellent protection against temperature fluctuations; it cools during the summer and is capable of regulating the temperature under the structure, guaranteeing a balanced climate)
- Anti-insect (Drosophila suzukii, Codling moth, Brown marmorated stink bug) with some changes.
For greater protection against hail, the structure can also be installed with a cover that is positioned above the anti-rain film so that it can always protect against hail, leaving the space below free for sliding the anti-rain films when needed.
The system can also be equipped with perimeter closures to create a closed structure that prevents the entry of insects. The closures can be customised if required to optimise the system and neighbouring space.
Finally, it’s important to remember that in order to guarantee the best effectiveness in various conditions, the system must be designed properly and in compliance with all structural guidelines.
Therefore, it is always necessary to carefully assess the plot of land where the cover is to be installed in order to develop a solution suitable for the needs of the farmer and at the same time able to withstand the stresses it will be subjected to.
We’ll conclude by reminding you that while the various possible solutions may seem similar to each other, if you pay attention to the details you’ll often find that the final result can create a huge difference.
Having a versatile system that is cost effective both in its purchase and installation as well as in the subsequent maintenance/ordinary management of closing and opening operations is something you need to take into account when deciding to invest in a particular orchard.
If these benefits also lead to a better quality fruit that’s popular with consumers…the decision is that much easier!
If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us via the contact info at the bottom of the page.