Here in British Columbia many of our crops such as tomatoes, flowers, and cucumbers, are quite sensitive to the heat. Greenhouses are vulnerable to overheating from spring until autumn and without protection from heat, few plants are likely to survive unharmed when subjected to prolonged high levels of heat within a greenhouse. As we head in to the summer of the planets hottest year ever recorded, it’s no wonder that many British Columbians are worried about these above-normal summer temperatures affecting crops; raising temperatures within a greenhouse to unacceptable levels, scorching new cuttings and freshly potted plants, seedings, and a wide variety of plants and flowers. It is essential to achieve a fine balance of shading and humidity to beat this heat.
With sufficient shading many crops can tolerate the high summer temperatures, and leaf temperature rising to tissue damaging levels can be prevented. Hunter Helicopters has found Shade Painting to be an emerging trend in Canada to combat these rising temperatures. Having been tried and tested over the years in Holland’s large greenhouse industry, shade painting is the process of spraying a particular shade of paint on top of a greenhouse to shade crops from 20%-60% depending on the crops requirement. Shade paint is like sunscreen for crops, blocking UV rays creating cooler temperature inside the greenhouse, as well as protecting the interior of the greenhouse from glare, intensity of sunlight, high temperatures and humidity.
These photos are from a Hunter Helicopters aerial application session; applying shade paint to a large greenhouse on a beautiful sunny day in British Columbia in the summer of 2016.
- HELI SPRAYHelicopter spraying special paint on greenhouses to shade them from the light and heat.
- Heli LANDINGHelicopter coming in for the landing to fill up with more shade paint with the greenhouses in the background.
- HELI CLOSE-UPA close up of the helicopter showing off the Hunter Helicopter logo during a beautiful day of shade painting a green house.
Applying shade paint is easiest, and most effective done through aerial application. The highly skilled pilots at Hunter Helicopters have a great deal of experience doing agricultural work, such as mosquito control and cherry drying, but importantly, in these sweltering summer months, their wealth of knowledge and practical experience spray painting is partnered to protect British Columbian farmers and crops. Their talented team works together in constant communication both on the ground and in the air making sure each application operation runs safety, timely, and efficiently. Hunter Helicopters aerial application of shade painting is applied faster, and with better coverage than ground applications which is critical for heat control, plus it is a more economical for coverage of large areas.
Hunters Helicopters makes safety priority. The aviation safety officer employs his chemistry background with his knowledge of safety and operational procedures. Hunter Helicopters shade paint is environmentally safe. At the end of the season, Hunters Helicopters applies a biodegradable soap 4-5 days before a heavy rain. The rain washes the shade paint away, making it a no hassle product for growers with already so much on their to-do list. The rising numbers of growers applying shade paint proves that this is a quick and cost effective method of keeping the greenhouse structures temperatures under control, thereby reducing their carbon footprint. Canadian growers are glad to have environmentally friendly shade painting as an option because every detail counts when it comes to optimizing the greenhouse climate.