Wildlife Damage Management, Internet Center for


Date of this Version

November 1979


This presentation is an introduction to a new material and method of protecting crops in the U.S. from marauding birds. The method is to completely enclose the crop with a light expandable netting - called Xironet. Most use of Xironet in the U.S. has been on or in vineyards. For this reason the slides presented will feature Xironet applications on grapes. Because of the nets’ unique characteristics various other applications will come to mind during the presentation. Xironet Bird Protection Netting is an expandable light-weight netting which is usually applied over the tops of crops, like a canopy, to keep birds from fruit, seeds, etc. It is unique in that it is: 1. Light weight 2. Expandable 3. Requires minimum equipment for application 4. Does not require modification of usual crop production techniques. 5. Does not require modification of the existing physical layout. 6. Does not require a special labor force or a long learning period. The recommended application technique is learned in minutes. 7. Cost effective on many crops. 8. Flexible - it can be applied to almost any terrain 9. Rapidly installed. Depending on equipment and terrain, it can be installed at the rate of one acre each 2-hours by a 3-man crew. Xironet is made of a special blend of durable polypropylene. It comes on a roll one- meter wide. It can be expanded a maximum of 10-times or to 10-meters (32.5 feet). The length on a roll is 350-meters (383 yards). Square foot coverage is 26,528 or approximately one-half acre. The roll weighs 24 pounds. This equates to about one-pound per 1,000 square feet. Present cost is $167.20 per acre. With care the net can be re-used. Such procedure greatly reduces the material cost per use acre. Application requires about two hours for three men to cover one acre, or six man-hours per acre. Thus, total cost figuring only one time use for the net is about $190,00 per acre. Xironet expands as it is applied over a vineyard (or any surface). With expansion the netting holes are opened. Maximum opening is about 1-1/2” square. Even though this mesh size is large compared to small birds, field results have shown that at least in some instances where small birds have flown through the netting, they did not damage the crop. Where the net has been installed properly, there has been no damage. The inter-connecting link points of the net are designed to create flat reflective surfaces. These linkpoints provide the impression of density. The bright yellow color tends to frighten birds and discourage them from landing. Xironet assumes the contour of the crop surface - supported by the leaf canopy. Or, in the case of a young vineyard, by trellis wires. Xironet is the leading brand of netting used in Europe. Reportedly about 30,000 acres in France, 2,400 acres in Germany, and 6,000 acres in Switzerland were covered with Xironet during 1979. Even though it is usually most practical to cover the entire crop surface, sometimes it is convenient to leave access rows. This is easily done with Xironet by bringing the net to the ground on each side of the row. Many crops have been protected including: Sunflowers, Strawberries, Currants, Raspberries, Apples, Blueberries