Homepage Blog So you think you know NETWRAP…?

So you think you know NETWRAP…?

It has been estimated that every year in the UK as many as 22 million round bales are made using netwrap. By any measure, that is a lot of netwrap! It has been around for over 25 years, so many of you are more than familiar with net and how it works, but there is more to it than that.

There has always been a lot of misunderstanding or, more accurately, misinformation about netwrap. By design, netwrap is very flimsy in appearance and feel, but it is manufactured to withstand the considerable pressures it endures during use and afterwards, from the baler as well as containing dense and, sometimes, explosive crops.

One common misconception is the ‘weight’ of the net and how this is measured, often incorrectly referred to as ‘gauge’, when what is really meant is the grammes per metre weight (g/m). Even so, the ‘weight’ of the net does not give any indication of the actual strength of the netwrap. Netwrap strength can be affected massively by the quality of raw material and accuracy of extrusion and manufacturing, and it is often the case that a producer quoting a higher ‘weight’ (g/m) type of net is doing so as this may be the only way to achieve a given strength. In doing so, of course, this producer becomes restricted on either roll length or roll weight, unlike newer technology such as Bale+™.

Incorrect or misleading information about netwrap can create confusion in the market, which can have a serious effect on the performance of the net in your baler as well as seriously affecting the quality of the bales you produce. Often, demonstrations on how ‘strong’ a net seems to be are shown by pulling the net apart in a sideways direction, which, because of the construction of all netwrap, will always result in the net tearing apart. This is quite wrong. What should be understood by everyone is that the strength of any netwrap is in its ‘running direction’, along the heavier strands that go around the bale. The lighter ‘zig-zag’ threads are simply there to hold the heavier threads in place and offer no supporting strength to the net.

In the information that follows, we have tried to summarise some of the main points in netwrap construction, which we hope will offer some advice on what to consider, or what to dismiss as ‘mis-information’ when choosing your netwrap for this season.

High Spot

Any different material may cause problems in the baler, by causing a ‘high spot’ on the net roll profile. This can be problematical in balers where the net sits in a box, with the roll turning on itself – with greater pressure on the ‘high spot’ creating excess friction that can easily break the net.

Franze thread

Netwrap is manufactured with long ‘Franze’ threads (the heavier threads) connected by ‘Shuss’ threads (the cross threads). The strength of the net is carried by the Franze threads, the lighter shuss threads are only to hold the Franze threads in place. All of the heavy ‘franze’ threads are acting together give the net its overall strength.

Care should be taken when choosing nets which include single coloured threads, as some makes and brands may use a different material to the rest of the net for the identifying coloured thread. Single coloured threads within a netwrap are a mark of identification from the manufacturer. Coloured threads are not related to any higher strength or better spreading ability of the net.

Net Constructor

A net constructed with cross pattern ‘shuss’ (zig-zag) threads within the net, either in the centre or on the edges, does not offer any greater benefits in strength and is simply a manufacturer preference during production. As we have seen, the strength of any netwrap is in ‘running direction’ and is carried by the heavier Franze threads, adding extra ‘shuss’ threads in the net does not add to the overall strength of the net in any way.

Understanding more clearly the properties and characteristics of netwrap should help you more in your purchasing in the future. This season, more than ever, wise decision making will become more critical than ever. Choose wisely and buy the best quality – you know it makes sense! Remember, there is a very true old adage that says …”buy cheap – buy twice”.

Think what it means and remember, your Crop Professional’s Association is here to help you with any queries or questions you may have. We are always happy to hear from you …

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