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Why do we place nets over our trees?

Have you ever visited or driven past a berry farm and wondered why large covers and netting are placed on top of the trees? These nets are there for a reason and that is to protect our fruit from birdlife.

Our fruit, and more specifically our berries, are extremely delicate. They can easily be damaged by heavy rain or even burnt by a large amount of sunlight and heat. When people generally think of pests destroying our fruit, they usually think of insects. This issue has been helped due to our use of the ‘Integrated Pest Management System’, which you can read about here. It however is not made to assist in keeping birdlife away.

Birdlife damage to fruit crops is hugely underrated and forgotten. Yet, this is a huge problem for fruit growers all around the world. Birds love the sweet, taste of berries and their bodies, just like our own, benefit greatly from the nutrients gained from the fruit.

This is bad news for our farmers as it is one more problem they must encounter during the strenuous berry season. Rowan Frances from ‘Blueberry Hill Farm’ in Kinglake, Victoria, states that birdlife accounts for 50 per cent of his farms average annual losses.

Farmers have had to consider many different forms of keeping birdlife away from their crops. Scarecrows, bird baths and even bird feeders are used in an attempt to distract birds away from crops. However the most effective form of birdlife control has thus far been placing netting around the fruit trees and bushes.

Large stands are constructed in between the trees before a large machine places the nets on top. Although expensive and time consuming to construct, netting crops has significantly decreased the issue of birdlife destroying our fruit.

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