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Flood Effects on Victorian Orchards

Varinia Sowden - Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Water is still lying around in orchards, after the recent heavy rains and flooding in Victoria. This unseasonal event has delayed the work being done by NetPro in Adelaide Hills and Shepparton.
Not only is this unseasonal wet spell affecting construction of protective structures, it is of major concern, because of the effects on the crops that have become swamped with water.

Research in flooded soils has shown that the oxygen concentration approaches zero after 24 hours (however, moderate water movement allows some oxygen to get to the plants, and damage is not as severe.) Without oxygen, the plant cannot perform critical life-sustaining functions such as respiration, water uptake, root growth, etc. Water-logging also leads to accumulations of compounds like CO2, which are toxic to plants in high concentrations.

Growth is a critical factor in survivability due to flooding. Technically, the larger a plant, the more oxygen it requires to stay alive.
Lately Victoria has had drier weather, but not warm weather. As the orchards are now producing flowers, the trees are suffering with cooler than usual temperatures. The overcast and cooler conditions are also hindering Bee Activity critical for pollination.

 Cloudy conditions decrease solar radiation and keep soils and floodwaters cooler.
As the temperatures increase  this favours disease development. Apart from root rot issues, many fruit and leaf diseases are more active in wet, humid conditions. Where water is laying or soils are waterlogged, humidity will be higher adding to disease pressure and this humidity will bring the next wave of issues for Victorian orchardists as the season lengthens.

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Success Stories

As major investors in the Australian horticulture industry, Rewards Group Ltd needs to ensure maximized returns on all funds invested, particularly in orchard infrastructure. Accordingly, our choice of contractors is critical to the final success of any project.

Bill Hatton - Rewards Group Ltd.

We currently have 250 acres of net – about 80% of our orchard area. Without the protective canopy, we wouldn’t be able to supply our market requirements. Quality is important to us and we wouldn’t be able to meet the specifications of our customers without net.

Dino Rizzato - I&L Rizzato & Sons t/a Moonlight Orchards

We particularly liked the product offered by NetPro – high quality was our main criteria. The option of wooden posts was also an important feature because of the highly-corrosive conditions in the feedlot environment. We were able to work through the construction plan and the materials options during the quoting process.

Kevin Roberts - Sandalwood Feedlot Pty Ltd

We chose NetPro to construct our protective canopies, as we know NetPro have been around for some time, we know their work and there are plenty of examples of their work around – we like the consistency of standard. In addition, NetPro are recognized by the Finance bodies, and it is much easier to get finance for a structure.

Mark Chapman

I think it has made all the difference to the quality of our product – it has saved us from bird attack and from hail damage." Since 2001, Robert Channon Wines have won 23 trophies, 17 gold medals, 26 silver and 55 bronze medals.

Mr Robert Channon - Robert Channon Wines

We live in North Queensland and have a nine metre pool. We needed to replace the pool cover but most local businesses we contacted wanted to replace it with a shade sail and the one quote we received to fabricate a new cover to our design seemed exceedingly high.

Owen & Diane Cheetham - Townsville

In 2003, Golden Valley Orchards were offered the opportunity to work with the NCEA (National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture) and NetPro Pty Ltd on a research project evaluating the effectiveness of (amongst others) NetPro's dam-covers.

Renato Andreatta - Granite Belt

"I think it has made all the difference to the quality of our product – it has saved us from bird attack and from hail damage." To date, Robert Channon Wines have won 23 trophies, 17 gold medals, 26 silver and 55 bronze medals since 2001."


Initially the idea of the net canopy over the landfill was discussed with Netpro as they are a local company and at the time Netpro was considering advancing into this area (protection of landfills). Netpro assisted Council with a very reasonable price which allowed the project to proceed.

Scott Cobon - Manager, Built Environment