Types of canopy
Dam covers: Research by CSIRO has shown that evaporation is one of the most serious factors in loss of water reserves. Water contamination through various sources is another major issue. Dam covers reduce water loss through evaporation and drastically affect algal growth in dams, (both blue green and green algae) improving water quality and severely reducing the input of wind-borne contaminants. The reduction in algal growth also reduces the population of waterborne organisms which feed on the algae. Dam covers also reduce wind and water erosion of dam walls.
Crop protection: Crop protection is a major cost factor for all rural operations. Canopies provide cover for crops against multiple pests including – Birds, Bats, Fruit flies, Beetles, and Moths. These pests cause millions of dollars’ worth of damage to crops in Australia every year. The canopies have proven to be an excellent solution to multiple pest infestations in many different crops.
Hail protection – The hail nets are heavy duty canopies designed to deal with hail, which can totally destroy or decimate crops in minutes. The netting also serves as shadecloth and an environmental control, and reduces water consumption (see below).
Microclimate environmental netting – This type of netting is essentially a type of shadecloth, but with important differences. Sunlight exposure can be modified and a high quality environment can be “tailored” for crops.
Horticultural applications – The new generation of horticultural canopies are becoming game changers in the agricultural sector: These highly effective canopies are particularly useful for organic farmers. Their ability to reduce or eliminate the use of pesticides against insects is one of the primary controls for high quality organic certification; The ability to conserve water and improve water quality is also critically important to any type of horticultural operation. Hail canopies have recently been found to drastically reduce water, up to 20% consumption through reduction of plant evapotranspiration; Environmental modification technology is also an important emerging technology for horticulture as a whole. New agricultural science is developing new forms of crop production, and microclimate modification is very much part of this technology. It may have major ramifications for the really big issues of land usage and improving global agricultural production to meet the needs of a growing global population.
Canopies in the marketplace – These highly cost-effective protection and environmental controlling canopies have proven their worth. The new canopies are proving to be excellent value for Australia’s long-suffering farmers, improving crop production efficiency and yield volumes. In Australia, dealing with a tough environment has never been easy. The market is responding to the higher efficiency and greater productivity, with the agricultural sector fighting off droughts, pests and a savage, unpredictable climate. For horticulturalists, the canopies are a dream come true- Simple, easy and cheap protection for their priceless crops. The future will be better still.
Justin Murray is an Australian freelance writer and journalist. He writes extensively in Australia, Canada, Europe, and the US. He’s published more than 500 articles about various topics, including canopies and bird netting