Penneable covers are extensively used in certain types of cultivation such as fruit-tree fanning, for bird and insect protection as well as anti-hail and anti-frost shields or windbreaks. Moreover, nets are used as insect protecting screens along greenhouse ventilation openings, shading screens above greenhouse roofs, etc. In these applications, plastic nets are considered as an environmental and human health friendly alternative to pesticides, which also reduce the risk of damage of the production under a diverse climatic conditions. In this respect, agricultural nets support the production of higher quality, lower input products using lower levels of agrochemicals and, in some cases, reducing or eliminating the need for energy consumption. However, their design and use is more or less empirical and the design and construction of the supporting structures are grossly empirically modified greenhouse frames or farmers made constructions, which usually pay little respect to the environment. Therefore, the de sign properties of agricultural nets should be further investigated and new optimised nets-supporting structural systems should be developed, fully exploiting the advantages offered by these interesting novel materials, while aesthetic aspects are also ta ken into account for a better protection of the landscape. Proper evaluation schemes for the most critical mechanical and the physical properties of permeable materials, directly related to the needs of the specific agricultural applications, should be es tablished. Technical requirements for permeable materials to be used specifically in agriculture and for the corresponding supporting structures have to be defined in order to obtain optimised structural stability and correct indoor microclimate. An econ omic evaluation taking into account the benefits achieved by their use and the cost of the alternatives will be part of the exploitation plan. New integrated products for protected cultivation, such as ready-to-use deployable structures covered with net s, appropriately designed for specific applications, will be developed following scientifically defined technical requirements. These structures should guarantee to the farmers optimal performance at a minimal cost, without detracting from the landscape aesthetics.
Field of science
- /natural sciences/biological sciences/zoology/entomology
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