There are changes in the market for wide, specialty film for the horticultural markets that will be described by Andrew Reynold's at the international Agricultural Film 2009 conference being organised by Applied Market Information from 24-26 February at the Fira Palace Hotel in Barcelona, Spain. Applications of film include mulch, silage, greenhouse and in fumigation.
Juergen Kloecking of BSK Plast Pack & Agrarservice Und Trade is an expert on silage films and markets in Europe. Professor Borreani (Turin) has compared a variety of oxygen barrier films for silage making. This year's programme includes a session on the use of films in pest elimination. Professor Alberto Fereres of CSIC has studied the use of selective nets and films to reduce insect and virus infestation. Very Impermeable Film (VIF) has been used for some time to reduce the amount of chemical fumigants required to remove pests from soil. Mitsui Plastics has worked on Totally Impermeable Film (TIF) materials for this application, in cooperation with Kuraray America which supplies EVOH into this market. There are developments from Kafrit Industries in the stabilisation of films to withstand pesticides.
There are innovations in greenhouse film including the latest studies on thermal control and durability. Plastika Kritis has developed new thermic films which reduce heat loss (IR) from the current norm of 18% to around 5-9% using new additives; the company also has light diffusing film to increase crop yield and film to reduce excessive heat build up and misting. Plastic Films for Agriculture has patented multi-material films for a variety of applications. Cytec supplies stabilisers into this market and BASF has additives to improve thermal control.
Davis Standard is a specialty machinery supplier to the film market and has worked on new equipment to improve economics in this seasonal industry.
Pliant is a leading supplier of agricultural film based in the USA and has developed new polyethylene mulch films. Biodegradable materials, such as those from Telles and Novamont, are being trialled extensively in the mulch film market. Some growers, such as Ulice, are developing their own film. Campo Tecnico of Japan is a leader in this area and there are studies on controlling the rate of degradation to suit the needs of growers.
Recovery and recycling is now an essential consideration - European studies have been carried out on recovery, cleaning and reprocessing of agricultural plastics including thin mulch films. Sorema is a leader in this area. Gestora Catalana De Residuos - Granic goes one step further and supplies recyclate back into the market. There are innovations in stabilisation systems, masterbatch and production technology, all aimed at keeping costs down and adding value for film producers while providing higher quality products for growers.
This is a rapidly changing area and it is important for members of the supply chain to work together with end users, to develop products that meet the needs of the world's agricultural and horticultural growers. Agricultural Film 2009 provides a unique opportunity to meet with the wide range of professionals who work in this industry.