A shade net or shade canvas is a loosely knitted or woven plastic, polyester, or aluminum material that only allows a certain amount of sunlight to pass through to reach the crops. Most of the shade nets for agriculture are green to lend with crops.
This article focuses on shade farming in Kenya.
In agricultural shade canvas farming, the varieties of nets used are usually influenced by the amount of shading required. Different crops need different shadings. Farmers or agronomists in hot lowlands climatic zones will use nets with higher shading compared to those in cool highlands for similar crops at same growth stages. During the crop’s hardening stage, an agronomist will need to use a fairer net than that used in the foregoing stage of the crop.
How to practice agro shade net farming
Select the appropriate material for the shade net to use on your crop.
Build the proper housing for the shade net or support it 2M high up to only cover the top of the crops.
Agricultural shade net types in Kenya
The nets are categorized according to:
The amount of required shade. The shading is measured in percentages, that is 90%, 75%, 55%, and 30% shading. These percentages determine the shade nets’ densities. The difference in the percentage allows different amounts of sunlight to penetrate, meaning that the percentage of shade cloth you select blocks out that percentage of sunlight.
The percentages describe the type and usage of shade net Kenya.
90% nets are ideal for green crop conservatories since the crop is very delicate and endangered to high temperature stress.
75% of nets are accustomed in the fruit tree or forestry conservatories. This is because the vegetation is more tolerant to high temperature than their plant counterparts.
55% and 30% of nets are used throughout the strengthening stage, but the choice of using any of these relies on the condition of the seedlings and the predominant atmospheric conditions.
Color preference – There are green and black nets. Usually, the shade of the net does not affect its shading potential.
What is the importance of shade nets?
Shade nets provide crops with protection against excessive heat and radiation besides helping the crops to retain their moisture content and grow quickly without the stress of water loss.
How to choose ashade canvas for agricultural purposes
Named below are the selection criteria used when choosing a shade net for your crops;
Weather condition – Deeper shading nets are used in hotter locations while lighter ones are used in cooler locations.
Crop age – Tender stage crops in nurseries require deeper nets whereas the ripening stage or mature crops require lighter ones.
The type of crop – Different crops do very well at different sunlight intensities. Some grow vigorously when shaded while others grow best when exposed fully to sunlight.
The growing method to be used – It can be a greenhouse or an open field. Usually, greenhouse shades diminishes the heat within the greenhouse frame.
In conclusion, as we all know that sunlight is very crucial to the growth of plants, it is good to choose the right density net you are going to use for your crops.