Agro-tech sector encompasses agriculture, forestry, horticulture, floriculture, fishing segments, landscape gardening, animal husbandry, aquaculture & agro-engineering. Whereas Agro-textiles is the application of textile materials in these sectors.
It is a very important segment of Technical Textile. The word “AGRO- TEXTILES” is now used to classify the woven, non-woven, extruded and knitted fabrics applied for the Agrotech sector including livestock protection, shading, weed and insect control, and extension of the growing season. Due to the increase in population worldwide at a very high rate, the stress on all types of agricultural crops is increasing.
So it is imperative to increase the yield and quality of agro-products. But it is not possible to meet the challenge using traditional methods of using pesticides and herbicides. Today, agriculture, horticulture, and fish culture are realizing the requirements of the future and adopting various technologies to get the highest yield, superior quality, and best agro-products.
Superior Agri Textiles products typically have the following features :
Tensile Strength: The tensile strength of nets can be a deciding factor of their long-term durability and service life. Hence good tensile strength is a necessary parameter.
Protection against Solar Radiation: Agro textiles are used over the cultivated areas soon after sowing or planting. For such application, Agro-textiles has to withstand solar radiation with varying surrounding temperature. The ability to withstand solar radiation should be prolonged for the product to have more life. Further, the product should perform the same way even when chemicals through pesticides and fertilizers happen to fall on them when applied by the farmer.
Withstands ultraviolet radiation: Nonvisible radiations include ultraviolet radiations (UV) radiation leads to degradation of molecular chains. No single material is resistant to all radiations. Polypropylene and polyester are more resistant to UV radiation when used as an outdoor material, polyethylene is treated with the appropriate UV stabilizers. Potential to reduce the impact of UV radiation on plants by light-absorbing or light‐reflecting non-woven (light permeability: 80 to 90% to allow photosynthesis to take place).
Abrasion Resistance: The abrasion to which an Agri textiles product is subjected may be of the material itself (material to material) or stray animals. Abrasion of the Agri textiles product would result in holes though which animals and pests could enter the structure and harm the crops .good abrasion resistance is required of Agri textiles product.
Resistance to microorganisms: The Agri textiles products being used should inherently be resistant to microorganisms. They should again not get their infections with them to the crops.
Stable construction: The construction must be such that it must be stable for any application.
Lightweight: The weight of the fabric /products should be such that the plant should be able to bear the load.
Several techniques of production can be used to produce agro-textiles. The best-suited one is adapted for each individual product. The process can be weaving, knitting, non-woven, extrusion, netting, or a combination.
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Agro-textiles minimize the use of fertilizers, high water, harmful pesticides, and harmful herbicides and render a bio-friendly farming culture. They also prevent the soil from drying out soon and increase crop yield manifold. Thermal protection textiles are treated with ultraviolet ray stabilizers & it can save up to 40% on energy in heating greenhouses. Their use prevents staining and improves the uniformity of color. They increase the early maturing of crops and non-seasonal plants & protect them from climatic changes and their effect.
Agro textiles prevent branches from breaking, increase the cleanliness of the crop, give large space and it also makes harvesting very easy. Agro-textiles with their excellent environmental resistance properties, mechanical properties, easy processability, and durability characteristics can improve the quantity, quality, and safety of agricultural products.