‘Protecta, a solution against cherry cracking and pests’

Spring rains have a decisive influence on the quality of fruits, especially when it comes to delicate cherry cultivars. Rainwater can in fact interrupt the flowering process, reduce quality and, in severe cases, start fruit cracking. The rupture of the drupa, in fact, makes the fruit no longer marketable. Another minor damage, caused by rainfall, is that of excessive humidity, which can encourage the development of dangerous fungal diseases, thus requiring the use of plant protection products. Arrigoni, with solutions such as Protecta®, Protecta® System and Fructus®, offers an effective solution to these problems, going so far as to guarantee a very high protection, as evidenced by producers from different countries.

Protecta, specifically, is a protective fabric screen characterized by a calibrated porosity in the textile structure. This allows to increase the ventilation and passage of the wind, thus contributing to the rapid removal of moisture in the protected area. It is weaved with high tenacity Arlene HT® monofilament, that guarantees three times longer duration if compared to plastic film and a greater slippage of water. At the same time, the fabric also ensures protection from hail, optimal airflow and good light filtering.

By connecting Protecta with Biorete® anti-insect screens, you get instead all the safety of Protecta System, an effective solution to prevent insects – Drosophila Suzukii, etc. – from reaching crops and causing damage to fruit growing. Alternatively, ideal for cherries as well as other tree crops, Arrigoni also offers Fructus®, a leno-weave anti-hail and anti-frost net, both black and in natural gray, available in different versions depending on the needs.

Among those testing the effectiveness of Protecta in the field, there is Maurizio Baldisserri, owner of the farm “La Corte Bianca” near Imola, in Northern Italy. “For 8 years – explains Baldisserri – I have planted 12 hectares of cherries within my company. Of these, 6 hectares are south of Imola, five kilometers from the city, so in an area with a usually very hot climate. Here I grow early varieties. The other cherries are in Castel del Rio, on the hills just four kilometers from the Tuscan border. Here the weather is definitely cooler, so I planted late varieties.”

“I started introducing Arrigoni agrotextiles two years ago, after suffering in 2019 heavy rain damage. In May that year, for four consecutive weekends, a total of 400 milliliters of rain fell. Practically 100 mm every weekend. It had disastrous consequences for my cherries. For some varieties, losses reached 100% of production.”

“In fact, it must be remembered – continues Baldisserri – that rain, hail and excessive humidity are some of the main enemies of cherries. The epicarp of this fruit, in fact, is not able to stop the excess of water. So, when this happens, it often causes the fruit cracking, that is, the rupture of the fruit.”

“Thanks to a fruitful collaboration with the agronomists of Arrigoni, who led me to visit already covered orchards in Trentino, I have installed Protecta for a couple of years in part of my cherry orchards. I replaced anti-hail nets, which had not given me much satisfaction, as they kept a high percentage of moisture in the covered area.”

“So far, the results I’ve achieved on the hectares where I use Protecta have been much better than I expected. In fact, if on the eve of this operation I still expected a loss of 5 to 10% of production, so far, I have collected 100%. In addition to protecting against rain, Protecta’s action is also effective inside the cherry orchard because rainwater becomes a kind of fine fog, which does not bother cherries, and humidity – unlike traditional protection systems – remains controlled, because the level of ventilation it guarantees is much higher. I also associate this system with foliar fertilization with calcium oxide, to ensure epicarp resistance, and I implement a high micro irrigation, to ensure that the cherry plants do not have sudden humidity accelerations during its annual cycle, suddenly moving from a drought situation to one of high humidity.

Finally – concludes Baldisserri – Protecta System is also very effective against insects, as Drosophila Suzukii. In fact, an anti-Drosophila nets have already existed for five  to six years but Protecta meshes are even thicker than those. Therefore, its function can be versatile: both rain control and anti-pests.”

Positive comments arrive from Portugal from different producers on Arrigoni solutions. The testimony comes from Novafrut, Arrigoni’s partner in the Iberian market: “We receive numerous positive comments, for cherries now harvested. All the varieties, some of them very early, arrived perfectly at this appointment, even though this year the most delicate days, from the veraison onwards, were very rainy. Thanks to Protecta, no rain damage was recorded and the microclimate inside cherry orchards has always remained the ideal one.”

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Source: Fresh Plaza