NEW open/close cover technology that reduces the cost of protecting fruit crops has secured a European distribution agreement.

The Wayki system, developed in Chile, will be marketed through Italian covering solutions supplier Valente. CEO Alessandro Valente said: “We are extremely proud to become partners to Wayki. It’s the only rapid automatic anti-rain film system for cherries, kiwis and berry orchard protection, which allows you to open and close the covers like an umbrella for optimal management of orchards. This innovative solution brings great benefits to the producers who install it."

Cristián López of Wayki Europe said: "Now, more fruit growers in Italy, Europe and the rest of the world have the ability to manage their covers in an easy and efficient way. This will ultimately improve the quality of their fruit and reduce labour time and cost."

Currently used for Chilean cherry crops, the system's creators claim that it enables a single worker to close or open covers at a rate of less than one minute for a 100-metre row or 20 minutes for a hectare. The Wayki system is operated with a conventional electric hand drill.

Inventor Jorge Prieto said: “As a result of climate change, crops are increasingly being exposed to different off-season climates within the season. Wayki borrows the concept of multiple layers from greenhouses and brings it to larger areas of land without the need for expensive greenhouse supporting structures. Producers will soon be able to use two types of roof on the same structure.”

“Meanwhile, in partnership with one of our clients, we are developing the technology for remote operation of the covers, and also artificial intelligence to allow the system to operate autonomously based on parameters collected directly from sensors and weather stations in the field, and external sources such as early frost alerts.”


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