Rain can be such a paradox. While on one hand it is essential for crop growth, it can also bring potential risks such as water logging, fungal diseases, and damage from intense rainfall. This is where shade nets come in handy mostly to those farmers growing sensitive crops to rain or nursery orchards.
Shade nets, also known as agricultural shade cloth, are woven or knitted fabric structures designed to create a protective environment for crops. These nets come in various shading percentages, providing different levels of sunlight filtration and protection against adverse weather conditions. While they are commonly associated with protection from excessive sunlight and heat, shade nets also play a crucial role during the rainy season. So let’s learn more about shade nets, how they can help protect crops, types suitable for the rainy season, and the step-by-step process of installation.
How Shade Nets Help to Protect Crops During Rainy Season
1. Protection from Heavy Rainfall
Shade nets act as a physical barrier that helps mitigate the impact of heavy rainfall on crops. By reducing the force of raindrops hitting the soil, they prevent soil erosion and waterlogging. This protection is particularly essential for fragile seedlings and young plants.
2. Prevention of Fungal Diseases
Excessive moisture during the rainy season creates an environment conducive to the development of fungal diseases. Shade nets help regulate humidity levels by reducing the direct impact of rainfall on plants. This, in turn, minimizes the risk of diseases like powdery mildew and other fungal infections that thrive in damp conditions.
3. Temperature Regulation
While the primary purpose of shade nets is to filter sunlight, they also contribute to temperature moderation. During the rainy season, temperature fluctuations can affect plant growth. Shade nets provide a buffering effect, helping to maintain a more stable and favorable temperature for crops.
4. Protection from Hailstorms
In regions prone to hail storms during the rainy season, shade nets act as a protective shield for crops. The durable fabric of shade nets helps absorb the impact of hailstones, preventing direct damage to plants. This protection is crucial for crops that are susceptible to bruising, tearing, or breakage.
5. Reduction of Water Splashing
Raindrops hitting the soil can cause soil splashing, leading to the spread of soil-borne diseases and the potential contamination of crops. Shade nets help minimize water splashing, reducing the risk of diseases and maintaining the cleanliness of the crop canopy.
6. Prevention of Nutrient Leaching
Intense rainfall can result in nutrient leaching from the soil, washing away essential nutrients that plants need for growth. Shade nets provide a degree of protection by reducing the impact of rain, helping to retain nutrients in the soil and ensuring they are available for plant uptake.
7. Extended Growing Season
By offering protection from excessive rainfall and related issues, shade nets can extend the growing season for certain crops. This is particularly beneficial in areas where the rainy season may be characterized by unpredictable weather patterns, allowing farmers to have more control over the growing environment.
8. Minimization of Water Stress
While rain is essential for crop growth, excessive or inconsistent rainfall can lead to water stress in plants. Shade nets help regulate water availability by moderating the impact of rain, preventing both waterlogged and drought-like conditions that can stress crops.
9. Enhanced Crop Quality
The controlled environment provided by shade nets contributes to improved crop quality. By mitigating the negative effects of heavy rainfall, such as damage and diseases, shade nets help produce healthier, more robust crops with better market value.
10. Optimal Light Conditions
Shade nets, designed to filter sunlight, provide crops with optimal light conditions. While protecting against the intensity of the sun, they still allow sufficient light for photosynthesis, promoting healthy plant growth even during the rainy season.
11. Reduced Risk of Crop Loss
By addressing the various challenges associated with heavy rainfall, including water logging, diseases, and physical damage, shade nets significantly reduce the overall risk of crop loss. This risk mitigation is crucial for ensuring a stable and reliable agricultural yield.
12.Versatility Across Crops
Shade nets are versatile and can be adapted for use across a variety of crops, including vegetables, fruits, and ornamental plants. Their customizable shading percentages make them suitable for different crop requirements and growth stages.
Types of Shade Nets Suitable for the Rainy Season
50-60% Shading Nets
Ideal for crops that require partial sunlight, these nets provide a balanced shading percentage, protecting against excessive rainfall while allowing enough sunlight to reach the plants. Suitable for a wide range of crops, including vegetables, flowers, and herbs.
70-80% Shading Nets
These nets offer higher protection from intense sunlight and heavy rainfall. They are particularly beneficial for delicate crops that may be susceptible to waterlogging or fungal diseases during the rainy season. Orchids, ferns, and certain types of vegetables thrive under these shading percentages.
90-95% Shading Nets
Reserved for crops that thrive in low-light conditions, such as certain ferns, mosses, and shade-loving ornamental plants. These nets provide the highest level of protection against heavy rain, making them suitable for regions with prolonged and intense rainfall.
Steps on How to Install Shade Nets
Step 1- Site Assessment
Before installing shade nets, conduct a thorough assessment of the site. Consider factors such as the type of crops, prevailing weather conditions, and the desired level of shading. This assessment will guide decisions on the shading percentage and layout of the shade net structure.
Step 2- Frame Construction
Construct a sturdy frame to support the shade net. The frame can be made of materials such as galvanized steel or aluminum. Ensure that the frame is securely anchored to withstand wind loads and the weight of the shade net. The frame should be designed to allow easy installation and removal of the shade net as needed.
Step 3- Installation of Support Structures
Install support structures such as posts or poles along the perimeter of the crop area. These structures will support the frame and provide the necessary elevation for the shade net. The spacing between support structures depends on the size and layout of the crop area.
Step 4- Attaching the Shade Net
Unroll the shade net over the frame and attach it securely. Be mindful of the tension to ensure a uniform shading effect. Some shade nets come with grommets or eyelets along the edges, facilitating easy attachment to the frame using ropes or bungee cords. Ensure a tight fit to prevent sagging.
Step 5- Securing the Edges
Secure the edges of the shade net to the support structures using clamps or other suitable fastening mechanisms. This prevents the shade net from flapping in the wind and ensures stability during adverse weather conditions. Pay special attention to corners and junctions to maintain uniform tension.
Step 6- Periodic Inspection and Maintenance
Regularly inspect the shade net for any signs of wear, tear, or damage. Address any issues promptly to maintain the effectiveness of the shading structure. Periodic maintenance, such as cleaning the shade net and tightening fasteners, contributes to its longevity.
Shade nets, often underestimated for their role beyond sun protection, emerge as invaluable allies for farmers navigating the challenges of the rainy season. By understanding their benefits, selecting the right shading percentages, and following a meticulous installation process, farmers can harness the protective power of shade nets. As guardians of crops, these nets not only shield against the whims of the weather but also provide a nurturing environment for sustained agricultural success, ensuring that the bounty of the rainy season is harnessed while minimizing risks.
Mazero Agrifood are specialized experts in the design, installation and maintenance of shade net houses for a wide range of commercial applications including agriculture, horticulture, animal husbandry and landscaping. Our team of professionals have the relevant expertise to help you install the structures in different ways. We offer a wide array of shade net products at competitive prices. Contact us today on 0729777711 for more information.