Examples of Textiles Used in Agriculture
Landscape fabric is used for weed control, a central element in achieving low-maintenance landscaping. Effective weed control means a reduction in actual weeding or in herbicide use-both unsavory landscaping tasks. Thermally spunbonded fabrics are said to be more effective than woven or needle punched geotextiles in preventing fine roots and rhizomes from penetrating the fabric. While woven fabrics are very strong, they offer many spaces for weeds to penetrate. Needle-punched fabrics have loose threads of material that plants can easily grow through. As for thermally spunbonded fabrics, these have fibers fixed in place, keeping roots from penetrating.
WIND PROTECTION FABRIC
Knitted windshield constructed from a commercial grade of U.V. stabilized yarn are often used to protect crops & structures from wind damage. Air exhaust deflection fabrics are otherwise most useful in odor control. These are often seen in swine and dairy house production. Wind protection fabric is available in a variety of aesthetically pleasing colors so structures won’t by an eyesore on the farm.
FROST COVER FABRICS
Different climates require varying levels of protection. Used primarily by professional growers for the protection of plants and golf course greens & tee boxes, frost cover fabrics help protect vegetation in wintertime, or from sudden drops in temperature during unseasonable weather, which can cause extensive damage to landscaping and crops.
Keeping the sun from burning vegetation is critical in farming. Shade cloths, most often manufactured from a commercial grade of U.V. stabilized yarn, offer the protection needed for more sensitive plants and for several other cultures in very hot regions or times of the year. Specific applications of shade cloths include shading ginseng, tropical ornamental plants, ferns, crops of all sorts and even livestock.
Used more and more instead of traditional chicken wire to protect precious flocks of farm fowl, poultry curtains offer light control, thermal protection and ventilation control, even at sub-freezing temperatures.
Drainage textiles are instrumental in solving the problems created by surface water and poorly drained soils. Geotextiles are mostly useful in drainage management for their filtration capabilities. Simply put, the geotextile, which can consist of a woven or a nonwoven fabric, retains the soil while water passes through the fabric and into the drainage collection system.
TEXTILE IRRIGATION SYSTEMS
Optimal moisture management can be achieved using specialized soil covering materials. These fabrics, made from a multi-layer high performance textile, retain soil moisture, such as mulch, and insure a most favorable contact between precious water resources and the plant’s roots, thus improving critical aspects of green house tree nursery production. Textile irrigation systems currently being deployed generally have one layer that acts as a reservoir from which water is distributed equally and continuously throughout its surface, as well as a layer made from a light, low-density textile that prevents evaporation while transporting water to the pots through capillarity.
Natural products such as grain, animal feed and food place very special demands with regard to conservation on the farm. Flexible textile silos, made of active-breathing, dust-tight, very strong and durable polyester fabric, guarantee constant grain quality and healthy livestock. Contrary to solid silos, flexible silos will also limit condensation, which means that the formation of mould is effectively prevented. Finally, the galvanized steel frame and the jacket and roof cover made of PVC-coated polyester fabric, insure the silos are weather-resistant.
Tanks for fluid products, whether it be water or liquid manure, usually have a bottom and resistant side walls composed of juxtaposed prefabricated panels. To better contain fluids and effluents, some of these are lined with special sealing sheets, or tank liners. Sealing sheets have proven to be a successful and economical method of solving a large variety of liquid containment problems. They are adaptable to nearly all shapes, sizes and types of tanks, and are resistant to a wide range of chemicals, industrial effluents and other liquids. These urethane blend flexible membranes prevent leakage from under the tank and avoid costly and/or contaminated fluids from escaping into the soil.
Flexible tanks are ideal for storing and transporting liquids (drinking water, hydrocarbons, chemical solutions, foodstuffs, industrial or agricultural waste, sludge, etc.) Manufactured using elastomer or plastomer materials, depending on the application, and reinforced with a high strength fabric insert (usually PVC), flexible tanks are a simple and economic solution for several farming applications, thus replacing costly stainless steel tanks, and expensive glass or lead linings.
Liners are used in tanks or ponds, which house fish in order to provide a controlled environment: one with clear water that can be treated to minimize disease and nuisance weeds. The material must not emit any harmful chemicals. It must have excellent puncture and tear resistance, especially for farming applications where it will have to hold up to harvesting and cleaning, or where the liner is installed over a rocky surface. The liner must be fabricated and installed so that it is watertight-preventing seepage can be a major cost savings. Reinforced polypropylene are often used for these applications.
A conveyor belt consists of two end pulleys, with a continuous loop of material that rotates about them. The pulleys are powered, moving the belt and the product on the belt forward. Conveyor belts are extensively used to transport agricultural materials, such as grain, fodder and various farm equipments. With a narrow window of opportunity when the crop must be harvested, timing is vital in agriculture. As the crops are taken up from the fields and moved through various processing stages, belting plays a key role. Harvesters use rugged PVC conveyor belt with interwoven carcass and cleats of various heights and spacings.
A tarpaulin, or tarp, is a large sheet of strong, flexible, water-resistant or waterproof material, usually coated with plastic or latex. Tarps have multiple uses, including shelter from the elements (i.e. wind, rain, or sunlight), use as a ground sheet for equipment, or covering for protecting vehicles or wood piles. They are also used on outdoor market stalls to provide some protection from the weather. Tarps often have reinforced grommets at the corners and along the sides to form attachment points for rope.
Anti-insect fabric is a closely woven U.V. stabilised monofilament polypropylene biomesh used for a variety of applications. It has a strand density of 32 strands per square inch. This provides an average opening between the strands of only half a millimetre. Sheets of biomesh may be used outdoors over a simple framework to effectively guard against pest as small as .5 mm. It can also be used in horticultural and agricultural structures covering ventilation openings to block out insects.
FLOWER AND VEGETABLE SUPPORT MESH
High strength polypropylene flower and vegetable support mesh provides crop row stability and assists in preventing stem and bloom damage. Plastic netting can offer less stem abrasion than traditional wire netting and is cost-effective and easily disposed of. Distinctive mesh colour is essential to make the netting highly visible amongst dense crop foliage for improved handling and reduced accidental cuts.
Near transparent knitted insulation nets are used in protecting crops from heavy rain, pests and frosts. Their permeable construction allows air and moisture to travel through them at a reduced and controlled rate.
Insulation nets are often used as a horizontal curtain within a structure to create an overhead thermal barrier. They usually provide minimal shading to the crop for improved crop performance in duller and cooler winter/spring months.
GREENHOUSE LIGHT REFLECTIVE FLOORING
This flooring cover option is manufactured from a heavy-duty commercial grade of U.V. stabilised polypropylene. Its bright white colour provides excellent “available light” reflectivity from the floor back into dense crop foliage. Greenhouse flooring will resist heavy foot traffic and wear from greenhouse trolleys and is usually highly breathable in order to limit the likelihood of the covered soil going “sour”.
LIVESTOCK GROUND FABRIC
High-strength, long-lasting ground fabric is used to keep cattle and other agricultural animals off wet and soft soil patches. Livestock fabrics are used for aggregate roads and paths and under feed lots, as well as for the protection of livestock in stalls or holding areas in farming operations.