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Hail net, Rain cover, Orchard net, Crop protection net, Apple hail net, Berry net, Vineyard net, Cherry rain cover, Reflective mat, Leaf defoliators, Storage bins, Labour platforms, Increase crop yield, Improve fruit quality, Weather protection, Orchard efficiency tools, Best hail net for orchards, How to protect crops from hail, Reflective mats for better fruit quality, Controlled atmosphere storage for wineries, Prevent crop damage from hail, Protect vineyards from rain, Improve crop protection measures, Effective orchard management toolsM Yarra Valley, Mallee Riverina, Ti Tree Northern Territory, Hughenden, Goulburn Valley, Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area, Sunraysia Victoria, Sunraysia NSW, Sunraysia New South Wales, Riverland Northern Tasmania, Hobart Tasmania, Southwest Western Australia, Coastal Northern NSW, Coastal Northern QLD, Coastal Northern Queensland, Hunter Valley, Margaret River, Adelaide Hills, Coonawarra, McLaren Vale, Barossa Valley, Adelaide Plains, Currency Creek

Protecting pack-outs

For Victorian apple and cherry grower Stephen Vigliaturo, decisions on the orchard are driven by a primary goal; to achieve high packouts.


But, each year, Stephen faces new challenges that put his packout targets at risk. From scorching heat that causes sunburn to erratic hail storms, the end result is far from guaranteed. Add to this picture, increasing costs on the orchard, there is no wonder why Stephen is investing in crop protection.

“The packout reports would come back with sunburn, then we have had the hail storms. Last year we got the tail end of it and our fruit wasn’t premium but we could manage. This year, we only got the cherries off,” Stephen said. 


“In the end, you need some sort of security. Costs are high and you can’t keep going just hoping for the best with this crazy weather."


Thanks to a Victorian Government grant, hope will no longer be required. Stephen is installing eight hectares of Valente hail netting to protect his entire crop of pink lady and Granny Smith apples.


“The netting is going up everywhere and I have reached that point where I know I have to do it. You can’t keep going in this climate with the costs so high. Otherwise you just get left behind and really you have no choice in the end. The grant has really enabled me to do what I wanted to do.”


IMAGE: Valente netting over apple orchard

Stephen has worked closely with Chris Turnbull at Inspired Ag to design the right solution for his orchard. The project is underway during April with all materials arriving from Valente in Italy which simplifies the roll out for the customer. Stephen said so far the process has been simple with all questions answered quickly.


For Stephen, hail netting makes good business sense. He described it is an insurance policy and a smart solution for achieving his number one goal of high packouts. He said protection from just one hail storm would provide 100 per cent return on investment. 


Although part of Stephen’s orchard was covered with drape netting previously, it was difficult to access the orchard once it was in place. The Valente netting is a more sophsticated option. 


Chris said through Valente, he is able to provide customers with precise and fully customised designs. 


“Growers choose from a basic structure through to a more complex system. Options include a range of plant support and protected covering including rain cover for cherries,” Chris said.


“Valente has been in the business for 60 years so every customised structure is the result of material testing, investment in quality, customer feedback and decades of



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