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Saturday, January 11, 2014

Algae control : Shadenet to the rescue

At Savera Farms, a large part of our irrigation is done using drip lines. Accompanying infrastructure includes extensive network of pipes, valves and a few storage tanks. Currently we have two storage tanks which service our daily needs. Over the years, we have battled a few maintenance issues with these tanks with one being the frequent issue of controlling Algae blooms. Some of you may recall our earlier posting on this topic where we received a few useful tips from the readers.

At certain times of the year, Algae blooms become a significant problem for us. We have discovered that rising temperatures and sunlight are Algae friendly if other supporting conditions are available.
Our assumption that monsoon / winter months, would contain Algae growth proved incorrect. Due to the Algae, our sand filters would often get choked with thick green sludge resulting in pressure variance between inlet and outlet valves and stress on the filter.

 The big 'green' problem

Finally, it was decided to take the bull by the horns. 8 columns were erected on the perimeter of our tanks and one in the center to help support a canopy. Shadenet (75%) was re-purposed to form a canopy over the pillars. Additional flaps were designed on four sides to prevent any direct sunlight penetration during sunrise and sunset. Initially, we thought this solution may be excessive in effort and limited in impact but we were determined to give this a try.

Wire was streteched along the perimter and diagonals of the tank. 
                                                         Shadenet was stiched to the wire.  

Cool, clear waters. Note the brick is visible in 5 feet depth

Side flaps were stitched in the end to further reduce penetration of sun rays

 A week after the shadenet implementation, crystal clear water can be seen in the tanks. Algae growth has been almost completely eliminated. We are keeping our fingers crossed that this solution shall prevail. In the coming months, with the onset of summer, we will have a better idea how the shadenets hold up and to what extent our localized ingenuity worked.


  1. do u have any idea about poly-house cultivation....
    if u have any future idea to work on it ....
    if so plz through some light on it...

    1. We have not ventured into poly-house cultivation but it holds promise. While the investment is high, a well managed cultivation practice has shown commercial viability in several operations in Europe and Americas. It would be great to learn of large, successful poly-house operations in India.

  2. Hi,

    Wish you Happy New Year 2014,
    Any idea on Color Capsicum Cultivation and it profits, recently one of AP politician KCR of Telangana has claimed that he could yield 40-50 Lakhs per Acre with this Poly house cultivation, later on google we could find that at least 30 lakhs is guaranteed, not sure if that is possible, but seems like there is possibility. Just wanted to check if you have any clue or already done experiments on shade net..eagerly waiting for your comment.

    1. We have heard similar claims before, however Rs40-50L may be excessive. Green / colored peppers do grow well in greenhouse and shadenet environment. With that said, production is not the only aspect. The producer should be able to realize the full market value to earn the stated profits - effectively marketing the produce is critical hence establishing prior market linkages would be key to success.
      Our two cents..

    2. If everybody starts cultivating color capsicum, do you think there will be that much return?

      Also, how many people eat color capsicum. It is not a staple like say onions or tomatoes or potato.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. If u have an idea on poly-house cultivation....
    Dutch rose,color Capsicum .and so.... how to get in it?
    how to approach govt for subsidy ..etc.,plz share the knowledge...
    my mail id is ibrahimcool531@gmail.com...
    thanks & regards...

  5. Wow,

    The shade net solution is really cool. You said its been a week since its installation and you do not see any alge growth. Hope the results are similar after a month as well. I have similar problem where my water tank develops alge resulting in screen filter & sand filter clogs. The drop in pressure due to this problem results in uneven or no distribution of water in eleivated areas.

    I would be really keen to know the results after a month. If the alge growth is contained, i would like to install a shade net as well over my water tank. What is the recomended cost per sq feet for a decent quality shadenet as per your analysis? Please advise

    Rahul Ramachandra

  6. Still No algae? I guess its 15 days. Would be keen to know the results. Pls keep posted 10, 15, month report on this.

  7. Well done. Shade net is the most inexpensive solution for this. However expensive columns could have been avoided with the use of either a) a set of floating canopies or b) pool cover like solution - both using shade nets. Where neither is possible, there's always Nualgi.

    Now on to Azolla!

  8. Hi ,

    Could you please let us know the cost details of the Shade net.

    I have a tank which has 40ft * 40ft. Want to know the approximate cost.

    Thanks. -- Bala.

  9. Thanks for sharing your farming journey, insights, and solutions! It's been a pleasure thus far. I too have recently moved to farming, and am incorporating your 'Shade Net' idea into my farm's water tank construction. Will be emailing you a pdf of 'The One Straw Revolution' by Masanobu Fukuoka.