Innovative solutions, increasingly effective and better for the soil, have been developed for intensive and super-intensive orchards
Modern intensive and super-intensive fruit growing is about to undergo a real revolution in weed control underneath the canopy, by more and more sustainable methods. In line with the “Farm to Fork” programme, Arrigoni has developed several completely “green”, sustainable solutions, both films and textiles, specifically to control weeds underneath the canopy, thus providing a valid alternative to man-made chemicals.
In fact, the European “Farm to Fork” programme is very clear on this subject and its provisions include: a 50% reduction in the use of plant protection products in farming by 2030; the halving of the loss of nutrients from the soil to maintain its fertility; and the conversion of 25% of agricultural land to organic crops by 2030.
Arrigoni, the group which leads the way in the design and production of agrotextiles for the farming sector, has responded to these challenging targets with a variety of solutions, depending on the type of terrain:
Mulching films, which simply inhibit weed seeds and growth due to their intrinsic characteristics;
Agritela® mulching textiles, which also enable a good flow of air to pass, permitting gaseous exchanges with the soil to keep it oxygenated. This not only supports the microbial flora but also reduces standing water and the onset of root diseases. This factor is particularly important in orchards which implement super-intensive growing methods, where heavy irrigation is adopted.
“In general,” explains Arrigoni agronomist Milena Poledica, “mulching films and textiles prevent the germination of weed seeds, a process triggered by light and other factors such as moisture. Their high shading factor of 100% prevents the passage of all short UV/PAR/IR radiation. The blocking of UV radiation stops seeds germinating, while the blocking of PAR prevents photosynthesis. This effect replaces both the anti-germination action of herbicides and the blocking of photosynthesis and respiration provided by other types of plant protection products. Therefore, in the case of mulching textiles quality and density of weave are fundamental for effective weed control.”
Moreover, orchards with a lifetime of decades require a long-lasting mulching solution. Arrigoni textiles are the most durable (up to 20,000 Newton-metres for Agritela®), since they are tough and resistant to mechanical procedures or the transit of vehicles and people.
Another very important factor is colour. Black is the colour with the greatest resistance to UV radiation and is therefore the most durable. It is no coincidence that in the past it was the most widely used. However, to meet some farming needs such as the reflection of light and the reduction of soil temperature, today mulching materials have evolved to be two-colour, black and white. This change has taken place for both mulching films and textiles. Therefore, the benefits of a two-colour mulching textile (such as Arrigoni Agritela® Black & White) are mulching, the assurance of gaseous exchanges, and the reflection of light.
“The research we have conducted in recent years,” concludes Paolo Arrigoni, CEO of the Group of the same name, ”has shown yet again that more and more sustainable and green farming is possible, even in a very complex and competitive area like fruit growing.”