Cesare Ippolito consultant of the Mazzoni group, tells his experience with the Protecta® net from Arrigoni in the cultivation of kiwi
Cesare Ippolito is the agronomic consultant in Lazio for Mazzoni group, responsible for the management of mainly organic fruit orchards. Following numerous experiences, he chose Protecta® agrotextiles to protect the cultivation of kiwis in the Latina area in which he operates, with the aim of preserving plants and fruits from atmospheric events. The Arrigoni screens have also proved to be useful allies to exclude harmful insects, a determining factor especially for the organically grown kiwis.
“Initially, to preserve the plants from excessive rain, we opted for plastic films” recalls Ippolito. “But it was a complete disaster: the province of Latina is very windy, with gusts that even go so far as to eradicate the plants. After the first winter, very few plants had withstood the weather and where the wind was stronger the plastic film was in pieces.” In one of the companies he followed, Ippolito then modified and rebuilt the structures of the orchard, maintaining in the first instance the “hut” structure provided for by the previous structure and installing Arrigoni’s Protecta® nets.
Thanks to the new agrotextiles, the company has managed to protect the crops from winds and excessive perspiration, which risks dehydrating the plant. In addition, a second goal was to reduce the amount of beating water on the flowers at the time of flowering and on the leaves. Ippolito explains, in fact, that this is a crucial element to avoid the predisposition to the proliferation of bacteriosis, in particular for the new variety of red kiwi, the Dong Hong. “At that point we decided to try the arched structure, which provides that the textile stays on the structure in a fairly rigid, strong, and tense way, allowing the fast drainage of water even in case of hail, exactly as it happens with umbrellas” continues Ippolito. “Protecta® has actually helped us in an important way: this net allows the passage of a small amount of water but perfectly protects the plants, which grow under the net in a more balanced way, have fewer leaves and fruits with abrasions”.
A further objective of the company was to protect the kiwi plants that produce the pollen – the “male” specimens – to take the pollen and fertilize the “female” plants, that is, those that generate the fruits. Since flowering occurs only 10 days a year, in May, it is important to be able to take advantage of each of these days: however, with adverse weather conditions and without plant protection, the operation cannot be carried out and the consequent risk of losses is very high. Thanks to Protecta®, on the other hand, in the last season the properties followed by Ippolito were able to work every day, thus increasing the chances of having an abundant production. Finally, by providing extensive protection, Protecta® helps to preserve crops even from the attack of unwanted insects, not only from the Asiatic stinking bug that begins to create different damage to crops in central Italy, but also compared to smaller insects, since the texture of this agrotextile is very dense.
The tests conducted in the field, following two excellent seasons in the production of kiwifruit, have therefore shown interesting and encouraging data, confirming the choice for Protecta® net systems.