The designers of open/close cover technology Wayki, which reduces the
cost of protecting fruit crops, have signed their first European distribution
agreement. Wayki Europe has granted rights to sell the Wayki system globally (with the
exception of Latin America), and exclusively in Italy, to Italian covering
solutions supplier Valente.
“We are extremely proud to become partners to Wayki," Alessandro Valente, CEO of Valente, said. "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. Together with Valente’s new Multi-Shield structure, Wayki allows us to offer growers a complete, effective, flexible and safe solution to protect their crops.”
Wayki gives growers the ability to open and close covers on their crops in
minutes in response to weather events, reducing damage to fruit, increasing
quality and lowering the overall cost of production.
Currently used for cherry crops, Wayki allows 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; most
existing automatic or semi-automatic systems are expensive and require more
labour and much longer to operate.
"It’s an important first step in then Wayki story," 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."
The Wayki system is operated with a conventional electric hand drill. It is
installed above existing pole structures and can be used to operate covers on
three-wire systems. It allows growers to keep their fruit exposed to natural conditions for as long a possible, instead of in the artificial microclimate created under covers. This produces firmer, sweeter fruit.
Jorge Prieto the inventor of Wayki said: “Next, we are working with growers to
develop the Wayki system for use in other crops and fruits, including
blueberries and apples. To date, it has been installed in different geographies
meaning exposure to a broad spectrum of terrains and microclimates, and it
has performed extremely well.”
“Having launched Wayki successfully, we are now developing multiple covers,
which will allow producers to adjust climatic conditions according to the type
of crop and its stage of development.”
Prieto says that because of climate change, crops are increasingly being exposed to
different off-season climates within the season. He says 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.
And he says, they 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.