Knittex shade netting protects and enhances production
7 min Read

More and more South African fruit farmers turn to shade netting, simply because it makes sense: Shade netting protects crops against sun damage as well as losses due to wind or hail, which can run into millions of rands, as South African fruit farmers have experienced over the last few years. The peace of mind that your crops are safe far exceeds the cost and waiting lists to acquire shade netting.

One of the largest shade netting companies in South Africa is Multiknit, which was established in 1964. Their netting, made of high-quality knitted fabric, is durable, 100% recyclable and has a lifespan of 10 years or more.

“Our SpectraNet range gives farmers the highest results and best return on their investment,” says Knittex representative.

“Some other advantages of our nets are that our fabric does not unravel when cut. Should the material be damaged, it can easily be repaired. Due to the flexibility, durability, and lightweight of our fabric, it is easy to erect. It is a very economical cover, and it breathes, due to the open mesh configuration. By using the correct mesh size to manipulate air movement through the shade house, you can control the humidity and therefore also the transpiration rate.”

In recent years Multiknit has invested a lot of research into the use of differ­ently coloured shade netting, which affects photosynthesis and photomor­phogenesis (blue, red, and far-red energy).

“Knittex shade net can be used to manipulate plant growth, for exam­ple to get stem length, use a net that allows far-red wavelengths through,” says Knittex representative. “This will force the plant to stretch towards the light. White shade netting or a black/white combination shade netting has been used very successfully on various vegetables, especially when grown hydroponically.”

Knittex conducted a four-and-a-half-month trial, using Code 20 white/active blue net over a banana plantation, and found that the block under netting was taller, with larger leaves and less leaf shredding.

SpectraNet is well known for providing plant and crop protection against harsh weather conditions and damage caused by hail, wind, insects, birds, drought, and sunburn. After protecting plants from hail, it recovers to its original shape.

Various trials confirmed that Knittex shade netting:

  • Reduced photo inhibition
  • Manipulated light quality
  • Improved light diffusion
  • Improved water usage efficiency
  • Supported good carbon dioxide flow
  • Reduced the peaks and troughs of temperature variations
  • Reduced heat stress and sunburn
  • Reduced midday depression
  • Reduced soil water deficiency
  • Reduced wind, hail, insect, and bird damage
  • Reduced pesticide usage and improved results
  • Effected meaningful savings
  • Significantly reduced soil, leaf, and fruit surface temperatures

Coloured shade netting manipulates and alters the quantity and quality of photosynthetic active radiation energy absorbed by plants.

But more importantly, Knittex SpectraNet will help to improve:

  • Flower, fruit, and vegetable quality
  • Crop yield
  • Reduction in production costs

It is very important to note that there is no universal shade net to manipulate light. Each plant has its own unique requirements, and various regions and crops have their own challenges. Knittex shade netting, locally produced and internationally proven, not only covers for protection, but also covers to enhance production and profitability.

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