Netting solution for agriculture to against El Nino

I think more and more people paid attention to one hot words recently: El Nino.

According to a new update from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the likelihood of El Niño developing later this year is increasing. The El Nino conditions are present and are expected to gradually strengthen into the winter of 2023. 

There is a 60% chance for a transition from ENSO-neutral to El Niño during May-July 2023, and this will increase to about 70% in June-August and 80% between July and September.

What is El Nino

El Niño is a climate pattern that occurs in the tropical Pacific Ocean. It refers to a period of warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific, which can have significant impacts on global weather patterns. El Niño is part of a larger climate phenomenon known as the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO).

During an El Niño event, the trade winds that normally blow from east to west across the equatorial Pacific weaken or even reverse direction. This leads to a decrease in upwelling, which is the process by which cold, nutrient-rich waters rise to the surface.

As a result, the warmer surface waters that are usually confined to the western Pacific spread eastward, causing a shift in atmospheric and oceanic circulation patterns.

What is the effect to agriculture

The impacts of El Niño are widespread and can vary depending on the strength and duration of the event. Let’s introduce some common effect to agriculture.

Changes in rainfall

El Niño can disrupt normal precipitation patterns, causing droughts in some regions and increased rainfall in others.

For example, it can lead to reduced rainfall in Southeast Asia and Australia, while causing heavy rainfall and flooding along the western coast of the Americas, such as Peru, Chile, Ecuador, ect.

Drought conditions can lead to water shortages, reduced crop yields, and livestock losses. On the other hand, increased rainfall can be beneficial for crops that require ample moisture, but excessive rainfall can also cause flooding, soil erosion, and waterlogging, damaging crops and affecting productivity.

Temperature anomalies

El Niño can influence temperature patterns, leading to warmer or cooler conditions depending on the location. Warmer temperatures can accelerate crop growth and development in some regions, leading to earlier harvests.

However, extreme heat can also stress crops, reduce yields, and increase the risk of heat-related disorders. Cooler temperatures associated with El Niño can delay crop maturity and affect the suitability of certain crops in regions that rely on warmer conditions for successful cultivation.

Strong wind and hailstorm

El Niño can alter the paths of storms and hurricanes, potentially increasing their frequency and intensity in certain regions. This can have significant impacts on coastal areas and may result in destructive weather events.

Disease increased

El Niño’s influence on rainfall patterns can lead to increased humidity and moisture in some regions, creating conditions conducive to the growth and spread of plant diseases.

El Niño can also affect the populations and distribution of disease-carrying vectors, such as mosquitoes and ticks. The warmer and wetter conditions can promote the breeding and survival of these vectors, potentially leading to increased transmission of diseases they carry.

Pest

El Niño can impact the population dynamics of agricultural pests, including insects and rodents. Some pests may benefit from the warmer temperatures and increased moisture, leading to population booms.

Insect pests, such as aphids, armyworms, and locusts, can cause significant damage to crops, affecting their growth and yield. Rodents, such as rats, can also proliferate during El Niño, causing damage to stored crops.

How to do during El Nino

In response to the potential impacts of El Niño, several actions can be taken to mitigate risks and adapt to the changing conditions. Here are some key actions that can be considered.

Actions to Rainfall

You are located in South America, Southern United States, Horn of Africa, Mid-East, such as Chile, Peru, Ecuador, USA, Ethiopia, etc. You should pay more attention to the rainfall. Here are several actions for the rainfall.

  1. Drainage management:
    • Ensure proper field drainage by maintaining or improving existing drainage systems, including ditches, channels, or tile drainage.
    • Repair or install additional drainage infrastructure in areas prone to waterlogging to facilitate the timely removal of excess water.
    • Consider implementing controlled drainage techniques to retain water during dry periods and release it gradually during heavy rainfall events.
  2. Soil health and erosion control:
    • Promote soil health and structure through organic matter management, such as adding compost or cover crops, to improve water infiltration and reduce erosion.
    • Implement conservation tillage practices that minimize soil disturbance and preserve surface residue to enhance water absorption and prevent runoff.
  3. Crop management:
    • Adjust planting schedules to take advantage of periods of reduced rainfall or to avoid planting during excessively wet conditions.
    • Select crop varieties that have better tolerance to excess moisture or shorter maturity periods to minimize exposure to prolonged wet conditions.
    • Implement crop rotation to break disease and pest cycles associated with high humidity and excessive rainfall.
  4. Integrated pest and disease management:
    • Monitor crops closely for the onset of fungal or bacterial diseases that thrive in wet conditions, and promptly apply appropriate control measures.
    • Implement integrated pest management (IPM) strategies to manage pests that may increase in population due to increased rainfall, such as snails or slugs.
Actions to High temperature & Drought

If you are located in Australia, Indonesia or other countries in South Asia, you need consider the probability of High temperature and drought. There are several actions for your reference:

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  1. Water conservation and management:
    • Implement efficient irrigation techniques such as drip irrigation or micro-sprinklers to reduce water loss through evaporation and improve water distribution to plants.
    • Use soil moisture sensors or weather-based irrigation scheduling systems to optimize irrigation timing and amount based on crop water requirements.
    • Implement water-saving practices such as deficit irrigation, where water is applied strategically to meet essential crop needs during critical growth stages.
  2. Crop selection and management:
    • Choose drought-tolerant crop varieties or hybrids that are adapted to arid or semi-arid conditions.
    • Adjust planting dates to take advantage of available soil moisture or to avoid periods of anticipated drought.
    • Practice crop rotation to optimize water usage and break pest and disease cycles.
    • Use mulch or cover shade net for crops to conserve soil moisture, reduce evaporation, and suppress weed growth. You could learn more function of shade net by here.
  3. Soil moisture conservation:
    • Improve soil organic matter content through the application of compost, organic amendments, or cover crops to enhance soil water-holding capacity.
    • Implement conservation tillage or minimum tillage practices to reduce soil disturbance, improve soil structure, and minimize water loss through evaporation.
    • Consider using moisture retention additives or soil conditioners to enhance water infiltration and retention.
Actions to Strong wind & Hail

Hail and strong winds, often associated with severe weather events during El Niño, can cause significant damage to agricultural crops and infrastructure.

While it is challenging to completely prevent hail and wind damage, there are measures that can help mitigate the impacts.

  1. Protective structures:
    • Install protective structures such as hail nets, windbreak net, or wind fences around vulnerable crops to reduce the impact of hail and wind damage.
    • Construct sturdy support systems, trellises, or frames for high-value crops to provide additional stability during strong winds.
  2. Crop selection and planting:
    • Choose crop varieties that have better resistance or tolerance to hail or strong winds.
    • Adjust planting schedules to avoid peak periods of hail or strong wind events, if possible.
  3. Crop insurance:
    • Consider obtaining crop insurance to mitigate financial losses due to hail or wind damage. Consult with insurance providers to understand coverage options and requirements.
Actions to Disease & Pest

El Niño can influence the prevalence and spread of diseases in agricultural crops. To manage disease outbreaks caused by El Niño, consider the following measures:

  1. Regular monitoring:
    • Monitor crops regularly to detect the early signs of disease development. Look for symptoms such as leaf spots, discoloration, wilting, stunted growth, or abnormal lesions.
    • Implement a scouting program to systematically inspect plants for disease symptoms, especially during periods of increased disease risk associated with El Niño.
  2. Crop rotation and diversification:
    • Implement crop rotation practices to break disease cycles and reduce the buildup of pathogens in the soil.
    • Consider diversifying crops to decrease the overall risk of disease outbreaks. This reduces the concentration of susceptible hosts and disrupts disease transmission.
  3. Integrated pest and disease management (IPM):
    • Implement an IPM approach that combines multiple strategies, including cultural, biological, and chemical control methods.
    • Encourage natural enemies and beneficial organisms to control disease vectors and pests. This can be achieved through habitat preservation or the release of beneficial organisms.
  4. Irrigation management:
    • Avoid overwatering as it can create conditions favorable for disease development. Adjust irrigation practices to prevent excessive moisture and promote proper drying of foliage.
    • Implement irrigation methods that deliver water directly to the root zone, such as drip irrigation, to minimize leaf wetness and reduce the risk of foliar diseases.

Solutions for orchard in Chile

Chile is a major exporter of fresh fruit in the world, boasts a variety of orchard crops, including fruits such as apples, pears, cherries, peaches, plums, avocados, citrus fruits, and berries. Olive and walnut orchards are also prevalent.

However, Chile’s orchards face various climate challenges, including the risk of drought, frosts, and occasional hailstorms. Orchards in different regions must adapt to local climatic conditions.

To withstand the bad weather during El Nino, we can have some suggestions for the orchard in Chile.

Rain cover

More rainfall might be benefit for fruits, but some fruits don’t want too many rainfalls, such as cherries. Because near the ripe stage of the cherries, the cherries will split in long-term wet conditions. it could not be sold in the market.

More and more orchards choose the rain cover for cherries to provide a dry condition for cherries several weeks before the harvesting.

Hail net

During El Niño, hailstorms can occur as part of the weather disturbances associated with the phenomenon.

While El Niño is primarily characterized by changes in sea surface temperatures and atmospheric conditions, it can lead to alterations in weather patterns, including an increased risk of severe storms and hailstorms in certain regions.

hail netting-Nettingland

Hailstorms can cause significant damage to orchard crops, including fruit, leaves, and branches. Hail nets act as a physical barrier that intercepts and reduces the impact of hailstones, minimizing damage and preserving the quality of the fruits.

Windbreak net

El Niño can lead to shifts in atmospheric circulation patterns, which can result in increased wind speeds and gusts.

Strong winds during El Niño can pose risks to orchards and other agricultural systems. They can cause physical damage to trees, such as breaking branches, uprooting or toppling trees, and damaging fruit or flowers. Wind damage can lead to reduced yield, decreased fruit quality, and overall economic losses for farmers.

Windbreak net could provide a vertical physical barrier for the orchards to reduce the wind speed. It is usually installed in several rows. So the wind speed could be reduced step by step.

Insect net

El Nino events can lead to fluctuations in insect populations. Increased rainfall and favorable conditions may result in higher insect abundance in some areas.

The pests could impact tree health, fruit quality, and overall productivity, including aphids, codling moth, fruit flies and spider mites. The pests eat the plant sap, leaves, but also spread the disease of the plants.

Insect net is one of effective solution for orchard, it could provide a physical barrier to keep the pests out, it could increase the yield and quality of fruits at the same time. More and more orchard choose the insect net recently, especially for the high value fruits.

Bird net

Birds, such as starlings, crows, or blackbirds, can peck, puncture, or feed on ripe fruits. They may cause direct physical damage, resulting in fruit deformities, open wounds, or fruit loss. This damage can render the fruits unsuitable for market or consumption.

Pecked or damaged fruits are prone to bacterial or fungal infections, which can lead to rotting and accelerated spoilage. Additionally, fruit damage can compromise its appearance, texture, and taste, reducing its overall quality and market value.

Bird net is one major effective solution to protect the fruits from the birds, especially for the berries, grapes, apples, etc.

Solutions for orchard in Australia

Australia is another important exporter of fresh fruits in the world, Orchards are found throughout Australia, taking advantage of the country’s varied climates and landscapes.

Major orchard-growing regions include the states of Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, and Tasmania.

Australian orchards cultivate a wide range of fruit crops, including apples, pears, stone fruits (such as peaches, plums, cherries, and apricots), citrus fruits (such as oranges, mandarins, and lemons), avocados, berries, tropical fruits (such as mangoes and bananas), and nuts (such as almonds and macadamias).

Rain cover

Cherries are also very popular in Australia, there are many cherries orchards in Victoria and Tasmania. Rain can cause cherries to split, crack, or become susceptible to fungal diseases, reducing their quality and market value.

Rain covers provide a physical barrier that shields the fruit from direct contact with raindrops, helping to prevent damage and maintain fruit quality.

It create a microclimate within the canopy, reducing humidity and preventing moisture buildup on the cherries. This can result in improved fruit appearance, including a smoother skin texture and a reduction in blemishes caused by rain.

Bird net

Grapes are another popular fruits in Australia, it is cultivated in various regions across Australia, with major wine-growing regions located in South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales, Western Australia and Tasmania.

The bird net is one popular choice for orchard in Australia, you need prepare the bird net for the coming season, it could be used for several season. If you want to learn more details about the bird net types for grapes, please click here.

Shade net

During El Niño events, Australia can experience elevated temperatures, particularly in certain regions. High temperatures can pose challenges for vineyard management during El Niño.

Growers may need to adjust canopy management practices to provide shade and protect grape clusters from direct sun exposure. This can involve leaf removal, canopy manipulation, and shade cloth installation to mitigate heat stress on the grapes.

Intense sunlight and high temperatures increase the risk of sunburn damage to grape and berries. Sunburned grapes can suffer from skin damage, shrivel, and develop off-flavors.

weaving of shade cloth-Nettingland

Protective measures such as shade cloth, netting, or leaf coverage can help minimize sunburn damage.

Conclusion

It is important to note that El Niño events typically last for several months to a few years, but their occurrence and intensity can be highly variable.

They are part of a natural climate cycle that interacts with other atmospheric and oceanic patterns, and their impacts can be influenced by other factors such as climate change.

So you should prepare the El Nino not just for 2023, you should pay attention to it in 2024 or 2025. If you are from other countries, or have other opinions, I will be happy to hear from you.

photo of Allen Gao
Allen Gao

Hey, I am Allen Gao, the founder of plusnetting.com, family business. We specialized in the one-stop solution of netting for fishing, sports, agriculture, safety and industry. We have provided our proposals for different clients arond the world to help them win the market, including the distributors, Amazon stores. Our target is to provide the most suitable products for you to increase your harvest and reduce your cost.

photo of Allen Gao
Allen Gao

Hey! I’m the author of this post, and I have been in this field for more than 5 years. If you want to distribute nettings or have any requirements, feel free to talk with me.

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