quality of agricultural plastics
Cover Growers

Case study: application of anti-drip films in a flower farm in Monterey Bay, California

There are many techniques that are used in crop fields with the purpose of improving the production of fruits, vegetables and, especially, cut flowers. That is the case of anti-drip films, which are being implemented more frequently when specific climatic conditions, type of structure used, and variety of crop are met. The result is a production with higher quality, therefore much more profitable, with plants that grow in an optimal way.

To further illustrate this case study, we wish to divide it into 4 points: the approach to the problem, the solution or selection of the most appropriate anti-drip film, the result and the keys to success.

  1. The approach to the problem in the industry of cut flowers:

A team of agricultural films manufacturers from the Armando Alvarez Group visited a major producer of cut flowers in the United States, specifically in the area of Monterey Bay, California, in order to show how the use of anti-drip films could significantly optimize the production of their roses.

For this producer of cut flowers, the duration of the film was fundamental. The producer’s needs were very clear: the anti-dripping film was essential, and its life expectancy could not be less than 4 years of use in a double layer structure and at constant tension by air injection. The producer was specifically looking for a film that was resistant to the four seasons of the year, combining thermal and anti-drip properties in two different size widths.

  1. The selection of a suitable anti-drip film:

Due to the weather conditions in this area of California, the role of the anti-drip film was critical to avoid damaging the roses. The recommendation of the team from the Armando Alvarez Group was the Indasol Tritermic film, after evaluating the inclination, or slope, of the greenhouse structure used by the producer, since it is not always advisable to use films with these properties. In other similar situations where the greenhouse structures were flat, semi-flat or with inclinations higher than 40%, it was not always considered to be the best decision to incorporate anti-drip films. This prior effort to visit the client’s installations was vital to guarantee the success in the selection of the appropriate film. to match theory with on-field practice is always the best option for designing tailor-made product designs.

Why was the Indasol Tritermic film recommended? This film has a special package of stabilizers against UV radiation, which offers a good resistance to degradation due to radiation effects, as well as the degradation caused by treatments carried out inside greenhouses. By decreasing the presence of drops, more light enters, and the reflection effect is avoided, increasing the heating of the interior of the greenhouse, especially in the early hours of the day.

Thanks to the EBA/EVA copolymers, a thermal insulation effect is created that serves as a barrier to the long infrared radiation emitted by the floor at night, which prevents sudden changes in temperature that negatively affect the growth and life of the plant. Due to its high thermal resistance and transparency, it is recommended for cold climates and low luminosity areas.

  1. The result:

The location was prepared, and the film recommended was installed. After two years, the team from the Armando Alvarez Group visited the producer’s facilities again, confirming that the anti-drip film was working perfectly. In fact, the producer had decided to place another film from the competition, to make the test with both materials, and after just one year of installation, the competitor’s film was already presenting drip problems on the crop.

  1. The keys to success:

In addition to the previous advice, the success in this case can be attributed to several elements that agricultural films must combine, more specifically in the case of anti-drip films. These characteristics, which comply with the films of the Armando Alvarez Group, are the following:

  • The technology used for the production of agricultural films. When special films are required for specific climatic zones, a significant differential value is the technology used. In the case of the Armando Alvarez Group, films are manufactured with machines of up to 7 layers, capable of formulating a product by mixing different types of additives that meet the customer’s expectations.
  • Having a R&D department exclusively for separately analyzing each case, as it happened with this producer of cut flowers in Monterey Bay, thus recommending a tailor-made formulation for the production of the anti-drip film.
  • The durability of anti-drip films. As in the case of the owner of this flower crop, trying to guarantee the life expectancy of the films is fundamental for the farmer. The film must resist solar radiation, pesticides, structures…However, it is also important to note that the duration of the properties of the additives used in the anti-drip films, is highly conditioned by factors beyond the control of the manufacturers. These conditions are all related to the relative humidity inside a greenhouse, day-by-day, month by month…
  • The capacity to maintain its properties during the life expectancy of the anti-drip film from the moment of its installation, for example, its capacity to dislodge water to the gutters and the homogeneous distribution of it throughout the entire film.

The dust-repellent treatment of the plastic film, by decreasing the incidence of diseases and allowing a greater amount of light to reach the crop.

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