Californian Growers Use Covers to Protect Their Crops from Harsh Weather


Drought and freezing temperatures, in particular, are two of the challenges associated with climate change which have long been an everyday reality in California. While they may appear to be antithetical to each other at first sight, the experience of the State over the last ten years has demonstrated the exact opposite. It is only since 2019 that scientists have declared that drought is no longer an emergency for California, after 7 years of critical water shortages which reached their peak in the period 2014 – 2017. It’s no surprise, then, that local farmers are very concerned about the issue.

What is more, the heavy snows at high altitude recorded last year (Squaw Valley, in the Lake Tahoe area, saw snowfall of up to 15.7 m), combined with heavy rain over the south of the State, which have helped to do away with the threat of drought, sometimes cause problems of their own due to low temperatures, like freezing. Arrigoni, the Italian manufacturer of protective screens for agriculture, is helping growers deal with these challenges and will this week be participating at the World AG Expo 2020 to show their solutions. 

“We increasingly have to deal with the challenges of climate change, water shortages and difficult environmental conditions in general. Being able to protect one’s crop effectively is critical to the success of one’s business,” says says Leonardo Mannarelli, export manager USA for Gruppo Arrigoni. 

Light diffusion
To obtain good water savings and thus assure good results even during periods of drought, Arrigoni proposes its Prisma® range with additive LD (Light Diffusion).

“This is an advanced thermo-reflective screen, ideal for winegrowing and for protecting fruit and vegetable crops during the driest, hottest periods of the year. The thermo-reflective properties of the screen, with different shading factor, provide outstanding temperature control, protection against burning, good conditions for growing and also for the workplace and, above all, the previously mentioned water savings. Our field tests demonstrate that this solution diffuses light more evenly around the plant, even around its lower sections. This reduces the risk of burning and improves the polyphenol content of vegetables,” Leonardo shows. 

But that’s not all: thanks to the special additive LD, the result of research conducted by Arrigoni in collaboration with the Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Territorial Sciences of the University of Bari, these screens offer two more advantages. “They are made with flat, strip-like fibres instead of monofilament, which allow light to pass not only through the holes in the mesh, but also through the thickness of the strips themselves. Furthermore, adding special additives selected during the product development process has made it possible to significantly increase the diffusion of light, thus promoting the growth of more vigorous and healthy crops. One need only consider that the diffusion of light by screens with additive LD is increased by up to 100% in comparison to simple transparent white screens, and up to 62% over milk white screens.” 

Drier habitat
To protect against sudden changes in heat and damage caused by freezing, on the other hand, Arrigoni proposes Arricover®.

“This is a strong, transparent, breathable fabric which combines light weight, long service life and effective protection against adverse conditions, such as very low temperatures. Arricover® is suited to mounting on supports and is easy to lift and reposition as required (in response to summer storms, hail, dew and pollination),” Leonardo says. “The agronomic results obtained with crops, starting with bell peppers and tomatoes, have been very impressive: better plant development after replanting, protection against rain and hail, quick drying thanks to the breathability typical of a knotted mesh fabric, less fungal growth and the passage of wind through the fabric for improved pollination – and all in a drier habitat.”

Meet Arrigoni at the World AG Expo 2020 show in Hall D – Stand 5307. 

By Fresh Plaza