Greenhouse to Silage Covers: 6 Ways to Prepare for Extreme Weather

Greenhouse to Silage Covers: 6 Ways to Prepare for Extreme Weather

If you grow crops for a living, you know all too well the havoc extreme weather can wreak on your harvest. In fact, the USDA estimates that 90 percent of crop losses are related to extreme weather.

No one follows the weather more closely than a grower, but rather than stressing endlessly over the radar maps, there are a number of preemptive actions you can take to prepare your crops for harsh seasonal conditions. While the optimal solution will vary by factors like region, budget and type of harvest, we’re highlighting six measures you can take to protect your harvest year-round.

1. Pond Liners

Ponds provide irrigation following heavy precipitation and can help to mitigate droughts. But before building your own, you should first check your local laws and water rights, as these can vary by state. For help building a functional – and compliant – farm pond, check out this handy guide from our friends at Modern Farmer.

As with any outdoor DIY project, a successful outcome begins with the right materials. Using a highly puncture and tear-resistant liner with ample elongation will allow you to mold the material to the desired shape of your pond without having to worry about damage or failure. Custom-fabricated polyvinyl chloride (PVC) liners and high density polyethylene (HDPE) liners are great options, known for their UV stabilization and oil- and temperature-resistant qualities in preventing groundwater contamination and conserving potable water.  You can calculate what size liner you need using our Pond Liner Size Calculator.

2. Greenhouse Covers

With the weather becoming increasingly unpredictable, choosing the right greenhouse cover has never been more critical in protecting your plants from extreme snow, sleet, wind, rain and sun.

For the best protection, be sure to choose a greenhouse cover with a high-strength reinforcement scrim, as this will prevent tears and punctures through varying conditions and allow you to get the most out of your investment.

3. Light Deprivation

Blackout light deprivation tarps allow you to block light from entering your greenhouse, reducing heat buildup and enabling you to simulate the summer light cycle year-round to double and even triple your harvests. Because light deprivation allows you to mimic seasons to create an optimal growth environment, you can use this technique to quickly increase your harvest’s yield.

Light deprivation is beneficial, but it presents the challenge of having to cover and uncover your greenhouse at certain intervals throughout the day, which can be extremely time and labor-intensive, especially if you’re going it alone. Innovative solutions like the BOLD EZarm allow you to easily and safely complete the process yourself

4. Shade Cloth and Privacy Fencing

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Summer ‘18 was the fourth hottest on record for the US. Across the nation, forlorn crops baked in the heat. Many of which, we’re sad to report, did not make it through.

Growers mourning those crops lost in the dog days of 2018 would be wise to invest in high-quality shade cloth to protect their harvests from this year’s fast-approaching summer sun. Shade cloth is a woven or knitted fabric that shades crops while still allowing room for them to breathe. The density of the shade cloth will depend on the sun-to-shade ratio your plants need to thrive. Shade-loving plants, for instance, would benefit from a shade percentage higher than 50 percent.

Cannabis growers are also finding shade cloth useful for privacy fences and wind barriers, with the density depending on the strength of the winds to which your grow is exposed. Privacy fencing can also be made with minimize distractions for your livestock.

5. Ground Cover

Ground cover can help eliminate weeds without the use of chemicals while also reducing moisture loss from extreme heat and wind. Agricultural applications for ground cover can be found in greenhouses, nurseries and between row weed barriers.

Available in black and white depending on the level of reflection you require, please note that both colors have the same drainage.  Americover’s high-quality ground cover is proven to inhibit the growth of unwanted weeds while giving your space a professional look.

6. Hay and Silage Covers

Brutal winters come with many lessons for growers; high among them being the importance of adequately stored silage and hay.

Because small farms often don’t have the luxury of silos for storage, they must rely instead on alternative silage cover options, such as custom fabricated woven polyethylene or engineered film solutions. The RUFCO® 300W is one such innovation, produced by fusing two high-density polyethylene sheets together for optimal resilience in harsh conditions and resistance to most chemicals, salt and acids.

7. Covers for Agricultural Equipment and Wood Piles

At Americover, we talk a lot about protecting your harvests, but maintaining the quality of the equipment we use to cultivate those harvests is of equal importance. Agricultural equipment is a significant investment. Make sure it’s protected from the elements with the proper covers.

Dura-Skrim® reinforced plastic sheeting is a highly puncture-resistant, highly-versatile construction film that can be used for a variety of applications, including protecting your agricultural equipment and wood piles from weather damage. Available in a clear, black or white and thicknesses ranging from 6-20 mil, Dura-Skrim is a material you’ll want to keep on hand for whatever Mother Nature has in store.

Heat shrink wrap is another great way to protect your machinery or pallets from weather damage. The material conforms seamlessly to the object and is sealed using a heat gun for complete coverage. Heat shrink wrap reflects heat and keeps condensation to a minimum, making it an ideal solution for protecting your equipment in any environment.

To see how it works, check out our how-to video on shrink wrapping machinery:

8. Livestock Barn Curtains

As extensively as we’ve discussed protecting crops and equipment from extreme weather, we’d be remiss if we didn’t share some pro tips for keeping livestock safe as well. Barn curtains, or poultry curtains, help to control the climate of your barn or chicken run, while also acting as a wind barrier and protecting the environment from rain and snow. The key to keeping your livestock healthy is to winterize your barn or chicken run before it is too late (i.e., before the temperature plummets).

Americover has a number of solutions to keep your livestock healthy through winter, including reinforced films and blackout light deprivation tarps, as well as bubble reflective insulation for insulating and weatherizing.

What Do You Need Covered?

From ponds to greenhouses; silage to stall floors, Americover has you covered with the plastic sheeting solutions you need to maintain a happy harvest year-round. Call 833.261.6501 or email inquiries@americover.com to discuss your weather prep needs with one of our experts.