Biorete Air Plus®, Prisma® and Net House are amongst today’s best-selling solutions for sustainable production and for controlling high temperatures
Managing high temperatures and ensuring a crop with minimal residues in tomatoes is now possible, and we can prove it. Arrigoni conducted field tests which yielded findings demonstrating the truth of this statement in two different contexts: on the G.R.A.L. fruit and vegetable farm at Licata (Agrigento), which currently produces various types of vegetables in 50 hectares of tunnels and greenhouses, and at Putignano, near Bari, from June to August last summer.
Specifically, the tomato trial was performed with Biorete Air Plus®, the innovative range of insect screens with high-strength, low denier monofilaments. G.R.A.L. partners Andrea Sferrazza and Giacinto Marzullo, report: “For date tomatoes, our market leader, we chose Arrigoni’s Biorete Air Plus®, and the results have been very positive from various points of view. Apart from mechanical protection against insects, there is the benefit of ventilation, found to be good on even the longest rows. Crucially, in a well-ventilated greenhouses, plants do not suffer from moulds or cryptogramic diseases such as alternaria, cladosporiosis and mildew. This considerably improves plant growth and product quality. Another major factor should also be considered. Since it enables a sharp reduction in chemical use, Biorete Air Plus® also has beneficial effects for useful insects. Setting is thus facilitated by making the ambient more favourable for bumblebees and nesidiocoris”.
“The aims of sustainability and temperature control,” comments Arrigoni agronomist Milena Poledica, “are amongst the most complex challenges for modern farming, and have to be achieved to ensure on the one hand more and more healthy and health-giving products on consumers’ tables, and on the other better returns for producers.”
Arrigoni’s research offers a variety of solutions for protecting tomatoes and Solanaceae in general. As well as Biorete Air Plus®, the line includes Prisma®, a range of protective screens that provide optimised light diffusion combined with temperature control, for high-tech greenhouses. Here again, field tests have demonstrated 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. Lower temperatures also improve working conditions for staff. The results of the tests performed at Putignano were amazing: from a minimum temperature reduction of 4 degrees Celsius compared to outdoors, Prisma® screens delivered a peak decrease of -8.8°, thanks to the combined effect of the shading factor and the cooling additive contained in the agritextile. Moreover, the opposite effect was confirmed at night, as the protected crops suffered a much lower level of thermal shock, with internal temperatures remaining slightly higher.
The protective system for tomatoes is completed by Net House, the innovative covering system which provides a useful solution midway between greenhouse and open field, with benefits in terms of both growing conditions, with better temperature control, and economic savings, since installation costs are considerably lower than for a conventional greenhouse. Furthermore, Net House installations can be created with a wide variety of agrotextiles from the Arrigoni range, depending on the climate zone. This special system enables growing even at the height of summer by providing a protected environment, while ensuring improved ventilation in hot climates and effective protection against even the smallest insect pests.
“The tomato,” comments Paolo Arrigoni, CEO of the Group of the same name, “is one of the crops which requires the most careful agronomic management. Plants are vulnerable to a number of diseases and parasites. Blossom-end rot, downy mildew, fruitworm and leafminer are just some of the most common problems. Inevitably, it is also one of the crops for which agrochemicals are normally necessary. Alongside this, there is also the threat of high temperatures, constantly aggravated by climate change. For example, in 2021 alone 20% of southern Italy’s tomato crop was lost due to the burning heat. Today, thanks to our programme of non-stop research, we can change the paradigm completely and open the way to residue reduction and an ideal growing environment.”