Grape growers and winemakers are all too familiar with the costly effects of hail damage. According to a study by the University of Missouri, published in the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers’ Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health, hail storms cause an average of $1.3 billion in crop damages each year, with grapes being among the most affected crops.
While it’s not always possible to prevent crop damage from hailstones, there are steps you can take to minimize their potential impact on your grape production. You can take precautions to protect your investment if hail storms are common in your area.
Vineyard hail netting is one way of the best way to protect your delicate vines and fruits from the effects of hail impact. Vineyard hail netting has been shown to reduce the loss of grapes during a hailstorm by 78%, as compared to a vineyard that has no hail protection.
Let’s see how to prevent hail damage within your vineyard with the installation of hail netting. Here’s what you need to know about grape hail damage and how to avoid it.
What is Vineyard Hail Netting?
Vineyard hail netting is designed to protect your crops from the damaging effects of hailstorms, protecting both the grapes and the vines. This type of netting covers the canopy of the vine, blocking small hailstones from hitting your vineyard. It also helps to prevent sunburn on your grapefruit.
Polyethylene (PE) hail netting is manufactured by stretching polyethylene monofilaments into a micromesh. The result is a lightweight UV stabilized material that can protect against hail up to 25mm in diameter.
The standard hail protection nets are 2m wide and available in rolls of 50m, 100m, or 200m with a micromesh size of approximately 20mm x 20mm. Other sizes are available on request
What is Hail Damage?
There are three types of the damage hail cause to grapes:
- Some grapes are knocked off the vine by hail and lie on the ground. These grapes won’t ripen, and they attract birds and insects.
- Hailstones bruise the skin of the grape, allowing bacteria to invade and shorten the shelf life of your wine.
- Hailstones penetrate the skin of a grape and explode it, leaving gaping holes in the fruit.
Why is Vineyard Hail Netting Important?
Here are some of the ways vineyard hail netting is beneficial:
Save money on damaged crops
Hail storms are very destructive and will you thousands of dollars in crop damage each year. By using vineyard hail netting from you can reduce their risk of losing money due to crop losses caused by these storms.
A recent study of hail netting in vineyards in the Rhône Valley (France) showed that a 90% reduction in hail damage was achieved by using hail netting. With an average plot loss of €1,000 per ha and no significant reduction of the yield, this leaves a positive balance for every ha equipped with hail netting at a price below €1,000 per ha.
Increase productivity levels
When your vineyard is damaged by hail, you have to take time away from other tasks to clean up the mess and protect their remaining fruits. If you have hail netting, you will not have to stop work as often to deal with the fallout from a severe storm.
Keep equipment safe
You also have vineyard workers who use a lot of expensive equipment daily, such as tractors and combines. Hail can cause serious damage to your machinery. With hail netting, your workers will not have to worry about their equipment being dented or ruined by falling hailstones.
Protect the soil
Besides damaging crops and equipment, hailstorms also harm the soil. Large hailstones can pockmark the ground and make it difficult for you to plant your vine properly. By covering your vineyards with netting, you save yourself the trouble of having to repair or replace your soil.
Types of Vineyard Hail Netting
There are many different types of vineyard hail netting available on the market, all of which serve different functions. The most popular ones available are:
- Triangular hail netting: This type of raschel triangle netting is durable and cost-effective for your fruit protection
- Drape hail Net: Raschel drape netting is multipurpose and lightweight. It protects against hail and wasp protection.
- Quad crossover Netting: Special and innovative design. This ideal canopy for birds, hail and shade protection
- Leno Hail netting Heavy-duty innovative design. It is a strong and durable leno weave mesh, ideal for a hail netting system.
How Much Vineyard Hail Netting to Purchase?
It depends on the size of your vineyard and the type of netting you’re using. But here is a way to help you figure out exactly how much you need.
Let’s say, for example, that you have a two-acre vineyard. And let’s assume that each acre has 250 vines with 8 feet between rows and 6 feet between vines. In this case, you’ll want to buy enough netting to cover 5625 square feet.
Don’t worry if math isn’t your thing — just use our handy vineyard netting calculator to find out how much netting you’ll need based on your dimensions and preferences.
The following are the requirements of vineyard hail netting:
- High mechanical strength, impact resistance, abrasion resistance, strong adherence to the wire,
- Good penetration in the sun, rain, and wind resistance.
- Simple and convenient installation.
- Resistant to ultraviolet rays and aging.
- Does not draw on the surface of grapes and leaves no residue after removal.
Install Your Vineyard Hail Netting
The first thing that you need to do is find a good supplier for your vineyard hail net. You can find them at various places on the internet and in your local stores.
Hail Nets are installed on a frame over the vineyard. Installation is relatively easy and can be done with a small crew and accessories and tools.
The posts should be at least 12 feet tall so they’re out of reach of most animals. A good idea is to use metal T-posts and install them every 10 feet around the perimeter of your vineyard. If you can get a 12-foot post, that’s even better!
Maintain Your Vineyard Hail Netting
Vineyard maintenance is critical to the success of your vineyard hail netting. Follow these steps to maintain your hail protection system, ensuring it will perform at its best when you need it most.
- Choose a professional supplier with the right experience and expertise to supply you with the best quality products for your unique vineyard requirements, for instance, Eyouagro.
- Ensure that your hail netting system is properly maintained throughout its lifespan so that it will be ready to offer maximum protection when it is most needed at harvest time
- Inspect your hail netting regularly before and after storms. Look for holes or tears in the mesh caused by wind, birds, or other elements. It’s always wise to inspect your hail nets before storms, as it will give you time to repair any damage you see.
- Clean your nets after storms. Use a pressure washer or garden hose to rinse off dirt, oils, bird droppings, leaves, and other debris that accumulates on your nets. If left uncleaned for too long these substances can break down the material of the nets and cause damage to the vineyards below.
- Replace nets annually or after a storm if damaged. Sunlight can degrade the strength of nets over time even if they aren’t visibly damaged by UV rays.
Hailstorms are unpredictable. They can occur regardless of the season, and when they do, they wreak havoc on your vineyard. If you’re looking for a way to protect your delicate vines and fruits from the effects of hail impact, then hail netting is an excellent solution.
Eyouagro manufactures the highest quality netting products at the best possible price. Our nets are completely customizable, so you can choose the size and shape that works best for your vineyards.
If you want to learn more about vineyard hail netting options, contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org.