Fruit Company Van Westreenen in Echteld grows Kanzi apples and Conference pears on 75 hectares for the demanding upper segment of the export market. In view of the high quality standards and the size of the total cultivated area, the company needs to be able to react quickly in the right weather conditions. The combination of the Flat anti-hail netting system and two Munckhof three-row sprayers has proved itself successful at Van Westreenen for the last 12½ years. Van Westreenen benefits from the speed and accuracy of the three-row sprayers and the generous space to work and good light levels under the Flat anti-hail netting system. The fears of some fruit growers that the Flat anti-hail netting system might collapse when exposed to a heavy hail storm has proved unfounded after 12½ years.

Being able to react and spray quickly in good weather is crucial

Berend-Jan van Westreenen: “The ability to spray quickly in ideal weather conditions is crucial to achieving optimal results with crop protection products. The Flat anti-hail netting system offers more than enough space to work under the nets. The size of the aisles between the posts, the extensive headroom and the distance from post to post allow me to use my three-row sprayers extremely effectively. We don’t have to raise the anti-hail nets first when we want to spray. That would be both expensive and time-consuming at 6 man-hours per hectare. I have used the Flat anti-hail netting system for 12½ years now. Hail storms are a regular occurrence here and I would have suffered moderate to serious damage each time without the anti-hail nets. There is always a thick layer of hailstones on the nets. It also takes a while before the nets are free of hailstones again. The nets do sag slightly in really heavy hailstorms. That’s just something you have to get used to. But I can tell you from experience that the nets are very strong. The span of the nets is calculated to minimise the risk of collapse. In theory, the risk is zero. I have never had any problems in all the 12½ years that I have used the nets. There are alternatives to the Flat anti-hail netting system, but they don’t provide enough space to work with the three-row sprayers.”

High capacity and proper leaf coverage with Munckhof three-row sprayers

Van Westreenen has worked with two three-row sprayers from Munckhof since 2010. Berend-Jan: “This is my second batch of three-row sprayers from Munckhof. The three-row sprayers supplied in January 2021 are equipped with the VariMAS wind direction system that automatically controls the air pressure at the nozzle openings. Even in a headwind, the three-row sprayers ensure the right leaf coverage and still deposit the crop protection products in the middle of the leaf. The spraying capacity is high. We can spray a hectare of fruit trees in just 20 minutes. That job used to take us 45 minutes per hectare. Berend-Jan van Westreenen: “The combination of the Munckhof three-row sprayers and the Flat anti-hail netting system from FruitSecurity works extremely well. For the past 12½ years, and counting.”

The Flat anti-hail netting system offers plenty of space to work and high light levels

Gerben van Veldhuizen at FruitSecurity sees increasing interest in the Flat anti-hail netting system. “Traditional anti-hail nets always sag to some extent. The Flat anti-hail netting system offers better light levels and more space to work in the orchard. As a result, fruit growers can use the three-row sprayer really effectively. These features make the orchard more future-proof. Van Westreenen was one of the first to invest in the combination of the Flat anti-hail netting system and two three-row sprayers from Munckhof. Many more customers have since followed his example. The Flat anti-hail netting system originates from Austria, where extreme hail storms and strong winds are much more common. We have now sold large numbers of Flat anti-hail netting systems and experienced quite a few hail storms in the past few years. So far without any problems.”

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