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Rain, hail or shine: strong netting results in superior crops

Fifth generation grower Chris Turnbull says that strong, protective netting can rescue a bumper harvest from hail. But, the 49-year-old from Ardmona, also says growers must select a robust netting solution for their orchard to withstand unpredictable and extreme weather. With the right netting and structure, the result is significant pack out and yield improvement.


“Producing class one fruit is a key business objective for growers. With that in mind, protecting produce from damage of any sort is essential. This includes hail damage, strong winds and sunburn,” Chris said.


“Protective netting enables growers to safeguard their produce; it is an insurance policy against hail and often that’s what attracts growers to invest in crop protection.


“Growers were devastated by hail during the past two seasons. For those who had already invested in crop protection, the hail was a reminder that their choice to innovate was a key advantage for their business.


“Netting also improves pack-out through reduction in sunburn, as well as exposure to heat and wind. So this means even when you don’t get hail, you receive a pack-out improvement for a significant return on investment.”


With decades of experience in protecting fragile and valuable crops, Chris said it was important to work with an expert. In 2009, Chris installed one hectare of fixed netting over Granny Smith apples on his family orchard. The result was a 40 per cent increase in bin return due to packout improvement. More investment in netting over Granny Smith apples followed. But, pollination problems under the fixed netting presented.


“We knew retractable netting was out there and we installed 14 hectares over pink lady apples. The pollination issues were solved so we went looking for the best retractable net on the market.”


During a series of trips to Europe, Chris visited Italian netting company - Valente - who have been in the business for 60 years.


“The brand has been around for decades, they are known as experts and are highly prevalent in Europe. Valente use a clever and robust design with concrete posts incorporated into the tree support to hold both the net and the trees under one structure.


“It’s important to know that although the nets are retractable, you don’t have to retract it each season.”


After decades of growing fruit, Chris, 49 established a new business, Inspired Ag, providing netting and other solutions to challenges in agriculture. Inspired Ag is the Australian agent for Valente.  


“The last couple of years have been rewarding. It is terrific to hear customers report they have survived severe weather events with no damage to the fruit or the nets. I am passionate about fruit growing and my aim is to work with growers who want to get ahead of the game,” Chris said.


“I am here to help anyone who needs a crop protection solution and really encourage growers to research solutions as there are so many different components to crop protection.”

Get in touch for a chat about your netting needs - 1800 224 996

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