You probably have not imagined Bananas being cultivated under Shade Net. Well, it will interest you to know that Shade grown Bananas are the best. Bananas grown under Shade Nets have gained traction and popularity among developing and developed countries as a major game changer in the Banana Production System.
In this article, you will learn the general concept of Shade Net Technology, Banana Cultivation Practices under Shade Net, how Shade Net Technology improves Banana yield and the benefits of growing Banana under Shade Nets.
Protected Structures as climate resilient approach
The need for drastic measures toward mitigating the impact of climate change is crucial and as such the Greenhouse Technology Concept plays a significant role. Temperature, Sunlight Intensity and Rain are fundamental environmental parameters that matter to Bananas. The materials used in manufacturing Greenhouse apparatuses have in themselves built properties to alter environmental conditions suitable for plants. For instance, Covering Materials (Woven Polypropylene, Knitted Polyethylene) have Shading abilities at different percentages and UV stabilizing properties.
Furthermore, there is rising concerns to grow more food per limited area. Therefore, farm intensification has become very crucial to growers and its stakeholders as the population of nations is alarmingly increasing by the day. In Fact, growers are running against time to produce more. There is pressure on growers to produce food year round in a safe environment while ensuring quality and judicious use of farm inputs.
Banana Farming and Shade Net Protected Cultivation
The term Protected Cultivation simply refers to the practice of installing protective Structures to screen grown crop plants against biotic and abiotic attacks. The practice was developed by scientists on the back of the challenges that open field cultivation poses to sustainable crop production. Especially against climate change as a major threat to food security.
The principle of Protected Cultivation draws on the application of energy resource management. Plants use energy to produce food for consumption. Appropriate energy allocation for improved food production is limited to the efficiency of technology application. Climate change is very disappointing to today’s farming. Extreme weather incidences present a greater threat to food security globally. The availability and efficient use of CO2, Water and Sunlight will depend on other environmental factors such as Temperature, Humidity, Moisture Content, Sunlight Intensity, Evapotranspiration etc. In a typical Summer where in some place’s Temperature could rise above 40 degrees Celsius, it can cause Physiological Injuries to plants and distort plant growth and development. Similarly, excess Rain can cause Flooding and Lodging of banana plants which can be very destructive to an entire field.
Impact on Crop Physiology
Banana (Musa spp) plant is made up of Leaf System, Pseudostem and Fibrous Root System. The plant is very sensitive to Soil, Water Deficit, Reproductive and Vegetative developmental stages. Every little change in environmental conditions directly impacts Crop growth and subsequent overall yield. The broad leaves of the plant require sufficient incident radiation energy from the sun to fix CO2 for Photosynthesis. The phenomenon of mutual shedding because of the broad leaves overlaid on each other, causes the amount of intercept radiation to reduce. This common challenge in the open field is corrected by Shade Netting. With this practice, Photosynthetically active radiation reaching the surface of the Net is evenly scattered by the action of the mesh, and evenly distributes rays across the Crop canopy to improve light interception. The Shade Net is also designed to filter Harmful Rays and reduce the Intensity of Rays that hit the Leaf Surface. Thereby preventing Sun Scorching, Fruit Scalding, Marginal Leaf Desiccation and Fruit Malformation.
Impact on External Climatic Factors
Another important benefit of Shade Net Structure is to prevent Banana plants from Wind damage. Bananas are not deep rooted and are therefore liable to dislodge with the least force from Wind. Thankfully, Shade Nets screen plants against Strong Winds. Moreover, the Shade Net Structure provides propping systems with Wire Ropes. As the plants approach maturation, they become heavy and hence need propping to avoid lodging.
As already established, Bananas, even though they have a tolerable affinity to Water, Excessive Water can cause many disturbances. For places where flooding is rampant Rain Proof Covering Materials are helpful to screen the Crop field against waterlogging. When the place becomes flooded the Roots find it difficult to ‘breathe’ as excess water blocks the air pores in the soil. Moreover, plant lodging is most likely in flooded conditions as well.
Pests and Diseases
Pests and Disease control is a difficult and resource consuming exercise to do on Banana Farms. Aside from Flies and Insects, Birds also peck on Fruits and temper with the quality of Fruits. Anti-Insect Nets have been used to prevent Insects as well as Birds from attacking Bananas. Inside the Shade Net, even when Pests such as Thrips, Aphids, Weevils, Beetles, and Nematodes etc. are identified, controlling them is more efficient in the Shade Net House. Similarly, Diseases such as Sigatoka and Leaf Streak Disease are well managed with a controlled condition.
Impact on Banana yield
It is widely reported that Shade Net Banana Cultivation increases yield. In many places such as Israel where the technology has become predominant, growers have recorded incredible yield increases. The result as proven by the concept has necessitated the adoption by many Asian countries including Vietnam, Philipines, India, and Bhutan to help boost production for local and international consumption. In the net, the System allows for High Density Plantation up to a 2500 plant per hectare. Fully mature Banana bunch weights between 40 to 100 kg. In the first growing season Banana matures at 12 months and at the 18th month, the parent plant is pruned and desuckered to allow only one sucker with the mother plant. With this method, Bananas can go up to 5 cycles in the Shade Net House.
Shade Net House is most useful in places where there is limited availability of Water resources. Unlike the Open Field Farming, excessive loss of Water is rampant and thus negatively affects plant growth. Shade Net House reduces the Sun’s ability to heat up the Soil surface to cause transpiration. Same is maintained for Leaf level and the entire Crop Field. Loss of surface is thereby significantly cut down.
Bananas are very sensitive to Moisture deficiency. Any form of Water stress can impact the Banana growth process and reduce yield significantly. The Roots of Bananas do not have the capacity to tap Water deep in the Soil. Water should therefore be available at the soil surface (Root zone) readily. The Shading ability of Shade Nets cuts down transpiration both on Soil and Plant surface and conserves Moisture. It stops Water evaporation also.
Soils that have a good amount of Shade possess the best of properties which are conducive to support Crop growth. Soils under Shade Nets are well drained, they have good Water retention capacity and better microbial activity. The Soil maintains a rich Organic Matter content which improves the Soil Structure. It is important to note that Shade Net Banana Cultivation prevents leaching of Soil Nutrients. Because of less use of Water, Micro Irrigation Systems are encouraged and therefore devoid of all forms of excess Water running on Soil surface which may cause Soil Nutrients depletion.
Soil and Plant Fertilization
Unlike Open Field Banana Cultivation, Mineral Nutrient Volatility is significantly reduced in Shade Net Banana Farming. Over here, a Drip Irrigation System is sufficient to deliver a Micronutrient dose directly to the Root zone. As a result, wastage of Fertilizer is avoided. Evidence have proven that Drip Irrigation under Shade Net improve Nutrient use efficiency, which support the reason for increased yield. It stops Fertilizer evaporation also.
Banana Orchard in Shade Net House
Our Flat Roof Shade Net House for Banana Orchard is our premium Structure built to standard for High Density Banana Plantation. The Structure has special inbuilt features that protects Banana Plants from Seedlings to Harvest. Basic technical details of the Structure are as follows.
The Structure is made of Galvanized Iron Pipes and Wire Ropes. Strong enough to withstand Wind, Wear, and Tear. The cladding material is made of Shade Net of different Shading percentage of 8 to 20% with a life span of 5 to 7 years. Internal Structure has a propping system made with GI Wire Ropes capable of bearing heavy Crop Load. Thus, preventing lodging of Banana Plants.
The Structure is designed to include a Drip Irrigation System and same for Fertilization in a process called Fertigation. Fertigation cuts down Water usage while improving economic Fertilizer usage and Nutrient uptake.
Benefits from our Flat Roof Shade Net House
- Improve yield Significantly
- High Density Plantation
- Cut down cost of Pesticide usage
- Create a conducive Microclimate for Banana Plants
- Rapid and Robust Growth & Development
- Reduce Water Usage
- Effective Use of Valuable Inputs (Water, Fertilizer etc.)
- Prevent Sunburn
- Achieve Clean and Uniform fruits for premium price
- Prevent Wind Damage
- Mitigate Pests and Diseases
- Encourage proper Ratooning Management
- Shorter Maturity Period
- Structure can take up to 5 Cycles Per Plant
- Achieve more than 70% A-Grade Exportable produce
In this article, we have taken time to elucidate the need for Shade grown Bananas as a climate smart approach to sustainable Banana Fruit Production. Shade Net Technology provides a viable option to farming to withstand harsh environmental conditions. It is needful to note that a combination of Shade Nets House and stringent Shade Net Farming Practices will produce incredible results. If you are seeking to protect your Bananas from Wind, Direct Sunlight, Insects, Pests, and optimize Water usage, consider a befitting Flat Roof Shade Net House. Our products are already making waves in Africa. Aside from Somalia, Senegal, The Gambia, Ghana, Rwanda, Namibia, Tanzania, Angola, Zambia, South Africa ect, our ambition is to champion the adoption of the Concept of Protected Cultivation in these countries. You can be assured of maximum profits from Shade Net Banana Farming.
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