The term agriculture is very well known to us right? I think yes after all we live in a land of agriculture. Rice and fish are the major food of our countries people. There is a bangla proverb says that “মাছে ভাতে বাঙ্গালি”. So think that if we use technology in agriculture to improve the production and quality of grains. Won’t it be awesome? Agrotextile is one of those technology which works for textile produces only. Its a growing field of textile. Special textiles that are manufactured for agricultural applications .There are four combined sector together are popularly called as “Agrotech” sector.
Agro textiles: Agro textiles are special textiles for use in agriculture, horticulture, fisheries and forestry in order to boost production, quality and protection from adverse climatic situation.
The term “agrotextiles” now is used to categorize the woven, nonwoven and knitted fabrics used for agricultural and horticultural applications including livestock protection, shading, weed and insect control, and extension of the growing season.
Classification of Agro textiles:
On the basis of fabrics production technique:
b) Non woven
On the basis of areas application:
a) Agro textiles for crop production (agriculture)
b) Agro textiles for horticulture (garden cultivation), floriculture and forestry
c) Agro textiles for animal husbandry and aqua culture.
d) Agro textiles for agro packaging related applications.
Properties Required for Agro Textiles:
- Resistance to solar-radiation.
- Resistance to ultraviolet radiation.
- High potential to retain water.
- Protection property.
Fibres in Agro Textiles:
Fibres used in agro textiles are as follows
Lets talk about the characteristics of agro textiles:
- Withstand solar and u.v radiations
- Resistance to micro-organisms
- High potential to retain water
- Prevent the soil from drying out
- Decrease the requirement of fertilisers, pesticides, water
- Protects from climatic changes and its effects
Raw materials used for manufacturing agro textiles:
- Man-Made Fibres:
Ex:. polyethylene, polypropylene, polyester, nylon, synthetic polymers in different forms such as tape yarn, monofilament yarn , multifilament yarn
- Natural Fibres
Ex: cotton, jute, wool etc
Agro textile is one of the best reason behind this tremendous development of agriculture sector. This modern agriculture is a gift of agro textile. Lets talk about the products of agro textile.
Agro textile products:
- Shade Nets/Fabrics
- Anti-Bird Nets
- Anti- Hailstone Nets
- Weed control Fabric
- Harvesting Nets
- Wind Protection Nets/Wind-Breaks
- Greenhouse Covers
- Insect Repellent Meshes
- Temperature Controlled Fabric
- Fishing Nets
- Tree Shelters
- The shade nets provide protection
- Grape cultivation, orchid plantations, tea plantations, nurseries.
- Shade percentage depends upon the application – 25% to 95%
- Designed to exclude the birds
- Allow movement of bees and keeps shade to a minimum
- Polypropylene or HDPE monofilament yarn (UV stabilised) and knitted
Anti- Hailstone Nets:
- To prevent from hail damage
- It helps shield vines from the fruit damage and defoliation
- Orchard hail protection
- Vineyard hail protection
Weed Control Fabric:
- Prevents the growth and spread of weed.
- Fabric promotes rapid and even plant growth and maintains higher soil temperatures.
- This fabric is water permeable, it allows the soil to get warm, minimizes non-productive evaporation and prevents creation of soil crust
- Harvesting nets are perfect for collecting fruits which fall off the tree when they are ripe.
- Placed underneath the trees until the harvesting period is over polyethylene monofilaments
Wind Protection Nets:
- Used to protect fields of young plants, trees or the harvest from being damaged by the wind.
- Reduce the effects of high winds and even help to keep out airborne sand and salt in areas close to the sea.
- Reduce the wind speed and increase the orchard temperature.
Structural Wind Protection
- Reduces the heating and cooling costs by 10 – 40% in a greenhouse
Orchard wind control
- Protect the orchard from damaging effects of wind, evaporation, fruit bruising, blossom and leaf damage, wind rub and shoot tip scorching.
- The green house covers are useful in nursery raising.
- The covers are made of highly resistant to ripping, waterproof and UV resistant material.
- It improve the greenhouse microclimate and heating costs, shield crops from cold winds and rain
Insect Repellent Meshes:
- Protect plants from insect attack.
- The insect meshes can also be used as a crops cover, screens for glasshouse doors and ventilation windows, greenhouse internal covers.
- Polyethylene monofilament meshes
Temperature Controlled Fabric:
- Protects the crops from cold, frost, insects, wind and rain.
- The temperature controlled fabric captures heat on sunny days, retain heat radiation from ground at night and also block night time winds.
- The tree shelter fabric protects young trees from animal damage, drying winds, defoliation and tip scorching.
- A sheltered tree grows faster and healthier, as the water retention is improved, whereas the evaporation is reduced.
- Fishing nets are knitted fabrics used for marine and inland fishing.
- The basic characteristics for fishnets are transparency and invisibility in water.
In todays world agro textile is so useful to increase the food production and to increase the product quality.
Need of agro textiles:
- They prevent the soil from drying.
- Out and increase crop yield
- They improve product quality.
- Agro textiles protect farmers.
- From harmful pesticides.
- Can save up to 40% energy in heating.
Natural fibers and their applications in agro textiles:
- Jute is a natural fiber popularly known as the golden fiber.
- It is one of the cheapest and the strongest of all natural fibers and considered as fiber of the future.
- Jute is second only to cotton in world’s production of textile fibers.
- The intrinsic properties of jute have made it possible to develop different types of agro textiles suitable for specific applications.
Use of jute in agro textiles:
- Jute agro textile is a kind of natural technical textile.
- Usually either in woven or nonwoven form, made from 100% natural eco-friendly.
- Bats fiber of jute plant used on soil
- To achieve higher agricultural productivity by improving agronomical characteristics of soil and by reducing growth of unwanted vegetation.
- Wool fibers are traditional raw materials for textiles.
- According to the fiber diameter, they are designated to the clothing and interior textile industry.
- Technical textile is the field in which, wool has made significant gains in recent years, building up on its various special characteristics.
- A major advantage of using wool for technical purposes is that the fiber diameter plays a minor role here, and this allows also cheap wool
Uses of wool in agro textiles:
- Wool has better insulation properties under moist condition than poly propylene and can prevent seedling damage from ground frost thus enabling earlier sowing and a longer growing season.
- The wool keeps the soil temperature constant
- When we compared with black plastic, does not give a wind tunnel effect, which dries out the soil.
- Coir is a biodegradable organic fiber.
- It is much hardest among other natural fiber.
- It has much more advantageous in different application for agricultural textiles.
- Coir is used commercially for the manufacture of wide range of products for various end-use applications.
Use of Coir in Agricultural Textiles:
- Coir being having the strong characteristics of retention of moisture is preferred for the agricultural applications.
- It is naturally resistant to rot, moulds and moisture.
- To suit specific applications, the coir fiber can be used as thus or by making a suitable product, which adapts the specific needs.
- Coir can be converted to coir yarn and then to woven mesh matting, which is used mainly controlling soil erosion and conditioning the soil.
- One more conversion of coir is to coir nonwoven, which is also used for controlling erosion.
- The coir fiber is also used for coco logs and coco beds for shore protection and stream banks.
- Favorable price, easy to transport and setting up, space saving, durability etc . Using Natural fibers
- Biodegradability but has low service life as compared to synthetics.
Agro textile plays a significant role to help control environment for crop production, eliminate variations in climate, weather change and generate optimum condition for plant growth. Thus, the need of textile goods in the field of agriculture has been stressed and their role in the reduced usage of harmful pesticides and herbicides to render a healthy farming culture underlined. Unique manufacturing techniques and properties of this blend of agro-textile sector products whose cost is lesser than that of pesticides and chemical herbicides have been emphasized. Textiles prove to be flexible in their suitability for specific geographical locations. So now it is our turn, to carefully and beautifully shape this infant technology, to contribute to the nation’s economy.
(NITER) 10TH batch
Department of Textile Engineering