Determination to stop hail damage grows netting business
Thirteen years ago Michael Cunial decided he’d had enough of losing crops to hail damage in his Orange, NSW, orchard and he wanted to do something to address it.To get more news about Hail netting for gardens Acting, you can visit dtwiremesh.com official website.
The third-generation orchardist considered structured net and found it was too expensive and there were too many failures, so the idea of simply putting a net on the trees (without posts or wires) came to him.
The next step was to source netting and see if the idea worked. Michael obtained different types of sample nets from China and trialled them for two years. He was so impressed by the results that he netted most of the trees in production the following year and established the business Drape Net to sell net to other fruit growers.
In the years since then he has improved the product and grown a loyal client base of fruit growers both in Australia, and more recently, overseas.
The orchard netting supplier said that while avoiding hail damage might be the primary reason many growers installed netting, his clients had found other benefits (including protection from sunburn, birds, bats, wind and even insects) also helped their bottom lines.Michael said his research indicated about 10 per cent of Australian apple production was protected by nets and that segment was growing.
“People are putting more and more money into growing fruit, and netting can insure your income.”
He said some club varieties must be netted because the club owner or manager wanted to ensure quality and quantity.
He said the importance of netting was highlighted when a hail storm in South Australia in October “pretty much wiped out” a variety.
“There’s not much netting in South Australia. I can understand why some people don’t want to net, but it’s getting to the point where you can’t afford not to net.
“There’s nothing worse than packing hail-damaged apples, you know. There is nothing worse.”
In the aftermath of the hail storms that hit Adelaide Hills growers on 30 October, Susie Green of the Apple and Pear Growers Association of South Australia (APGASA) said a damage assessment across the region showed hail hit more than 95 per cent of growers, with significant damage and high losses on many blocks.
The damage assessment, carried out in conjunction with Lenswood Co-operative and E.E. Muir & Sons, found blocks that were under hail net typically showed much lower levels of damage.
But of the approximately 810ha of apples and 110ha of pears under production in the Adelaide Hills, only about 132ha was under net (of which 120ha was closed).