The use of the crop support twine is becoming more relevant in the market for small, medium, and large farmers, who are constantly looking for new alternatives that allow them to improve the quality of the products they grow. On the other hand, adding the biodegradable factor of crop twines with this property will allow producers to work their fields under the parameters of greener agriculture.
What is a crop support twine?
It’s a twine made to support and guide crops, especially in the current greenhouse structures, using them to tie plant grafts so that they can grow properly.
Currently, the crop twine is largely used for the correct growth of popular varieties such as bell peppers, tomatoes, and courgette/squash.
These twines require specific physical properties to enable a correct plant growth cycle such as weight support resistance, strength and elongation, anti-UV durability and, of course, to meet the general technical specifications of the product.
In the case of the biodegradable crop twine, one of its benefits from an application standpoint is that it can be collected along with the vegetable mass that remains after the harvest season.
Raw materials used to manufacture crop tutor twine
Today, there are several companies, such as Reyenvas that are dedicated to manufacturing the support twine for cultivation. Bellow, we mention some of the raw materials used:
- Polypropylene (PP): This is the base used to manufacture the rope. It ensures the requirements to manufacture a high-strength twine, yet soft enough to perfectly suit its final use.
- Dye: Provides the crop tutor twine with the desired colour and the UV protection must be adjusted according to said colour.
- UV additives: help protect the twine from premature degradation caused by ultraviolet radiation.
In the case of biodegradable crop twine, it’s manufactured based on biopolymers that allows it to naturally degrade into compost at the end of its use, all thanks to the action of microorganisms, eventually becoming CO₂, water and biomass.
What’s the production process?
One of the first steps is feeding and dosing, which consists of transporting the required raw material to the dosing system, where the percentages involved in the mixture will be regulated.
In the extrusion, the raw materials are melted, applying pressure and temperature as they pass through the extruder. The melted material flows through a flat head forming a sheet of PP which is made to cool and stabilize the melted PP sheet through a system of refrigerated rollers.
Then, comes the cut through a system consisting of a set of blades that will cut the extruded sheet into tapes or strips whose widths may vary depending on the type of rope to be manufactured.
The orientation is made to stretch the material at medium temperature, increasing its toughness and resistance, as well as low elongation values at the breaking point.
During stabilization, a roller system will be responsible for stabilizing and tempering the rope during cooling, to avoid internal residual stress on the winded twine.
Next, comes the softness to improve the handling and flexibility of the twine, making it less rigid and abrasive. This can be achieved by fibrillating (passing the extruded tape through a fibrillating roller at the end of the stretching system) or striped forming (passing the strip through a unique design of the nozzle that allows to separate it, providing it with a string structure).
The twisting and winding process is carried out, so the twine will twist on itself until it achieves the cylindrical shape of a rope, increasing the resistance to breakage. The number of twists per meter will depend on the type of rope. Finally, it’s packed to form a coil and palletized for commercialization.
Specific types of support twines can be manufactured to meet the needs of each crop. In the case of greenhouses, it’s an essential element for the proper management of the crop, as it helps guide plants during their growth so that they achieve the correct agronomic development.
It’s a very reliable product that guarantees the safety of the crop and, thanks to years of experience dedicated to its improvement, the Reyenvas crop twine meets all application requirements.
Benefits of the crop tutor twine
- Contributes to increase air circulation between the foliage.
- Lifts the plant to prevent flowers and fruits from coming into contact with wet soil, reducing the incidence of fungal diseases.
- Prevents fruit from gathering soil dirt while growing.
- Prevents damage from workers.
- Helps increase crop quality and production.
- In the case of biodegradable crop twine, it significantly minimizes operating costs, as the twine can be removed along with the residual plant mass, once the harvest is finished and, on the other hand, decreases negative environmental impact.
For more information about its benefits and other aspects, we recommend watching our webinar.
Durability of the crop tutor twine
It isn’t unusual for doubts to arise regarding the durability of the crop twine. One of the most common ones is whether there will be a higher risk for the twine to begin degrading earlier than expected, depending on weather conditions or other factors.
The process of decomposition of each twine will depend on the materials used in its manufacture, the type of crop where it is used and the climate of the area.
Generally, horticulture twines last approximately 9 to 12 months, but others can last up to a year and a half, representing significant capital savings. Some companies incorporate state-of-the-art stabilizers to ensure their effectiveness in greenhouses or outdoors to achieve the desired duration.
It will all depend on the crop twine you choose and the specific use you will give to the twine. The most stable and durable colour is black, being one of the most popular, especially in high solar radiation climates.
Case study: a standard twine used in banana crops in Venezuela
While we have talked about the benefits of the crop support twine, there are some twines that are typically used in greenhouses or outdoors on standard crops, work quite well in other types of plantations and applications. An example of this is banana crops in Venezuela, where the twines manufactured by Reyenvas have been used with success both in duration and strength.
Currently, several banana plantations are using this type of twine in diverse regions of the country, such as Carabobo State, to ensure that the plantation grows strong and with a better plant structure. In Carabobo, depending on the season, the temperature can vary between 20o and 35oC so the twines have been specifically adapted by Reyenvas to withstand the local growing conditions.
Below, is a video of banana crops in Venezuela:
What aspects should be considered before purchasing them?
As it’s the case with any agricultural twine, it’s important to understand what are the mechanical attributes that you want to obtain from it, to know, once it has been tested manually, if it has the right strength and resistance for the crop.
Producers must consider its durability and make good use of the crop tutor twine to delay its degradation when exposed to external climate factors. One recommendation is to adjust the twine to the natural growth cycle of the crop and avoid overexposure to pro-degradant factors, without unnecessarily advancing or extending its installation over the crop.
Soil conditions, location, humidity, temperature and solar radiation should also be considered, as well as the storage of the tutor twine prior to use in the season.
The recommendation is to store them away from factors that may compromise their integrity by affecting their mechanical properties such as strength, durability and elongation. They should be stored vertically, inside their original packaging and in dry places where there is no incidence of sunlight or moisture.
We invite you to read another article that you may find interesting about biodegradable raffia twine.