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~ Featuring the ROCCA Plastic Mulch Retieval Equipment ~

The idea of using polyethylene film as mulch in plant production saw its beginnings in the mid-1950s. Dr. Emery M. Emmert of the University of Kentucky was one of the first to recognize the benefits of using LDPE (low-density polyethylene) and HDPE (high-density polyethylene) film as mulch in vegetable farming. Today, Dr. Emmert is considered the "father of plastic greenhouses". He is also known as the "plastic surgeon" due to his use of plastic instead of glass for greenhouses and his use of clear and black plastic as mulch in vegetable farming. Expanding at an incredible rate, an ever increasing amount of agricultural farm land utilizes polyethylene mulch and similar row covers for crop production in the world.

The use of plastic mulches along with the use of drip irrigation has many benefits such as:

Earlier planting dates
The use of plastic mulch alters soil temperature. Dark mulches and clear mulches applied to the soil increases the soil temperature allowing earlier planting as well as encouraging faster growth early in the growing season. White mulch reflects heat from the sun effectively reducing soil temperature. This reduction in temperature may help establish plants in mid-summer when cooler soil might be required.

Soil moisture retention
Plastic mulches reduce the amount of water lost from the soil due to evaporation. This means less water will be needed for irrigation. Plastic mulches also aid in evenly distributing moisture to the soil which reduces plant stress. Plastic mulching film creates a barrier to photosynthesis and prevents the growth of other plants and weeds.

Weed management
Plastic mulches prevent sunlight from reaching the soil which can inhibit most annual and perennial weeds. Holes in the mulch for plants tend to be the only pathway for weeds to grow.

Reduction in the leaching of fertilizer
The use of drip irrigation in conjunction with plastic mulch allows for the reduction of leaching of fertilizers. Using drip irrigation eliminates the use of flood and furrow irrigation that applies water to the soil in a way that in turn tends to leach nitrogen and other nutrients to depths below the root zone. Drip irrigation applies smaller quantities of water with fertilizers injected which allows the fertilizers to be applied directly to the root zone as needed. This also reduces the amount of fertilizer needed for adequate plant growth when compared to broadcast fertilization.

Improved crop quality
Plastic mulches keep ripening fruits off of the soil. This reduced contact with the soil decreases fruit rot as well as keeps the fruit and vegetables clean. This is beneficial for the production of strawberries, for example.

Reduction in soil compaction
The plastic mulch covering the soil decreases the crusting effect of rain and sunlight. The reduction in weed quantity means a decreased need for mechanical cultivation. Weed control between beds of plastic can be conducted using directly applied herbicides and through mechanical means. The soil underneath the plastic mulch stays loose and well aerated and aids in microbial activity.

Reduction in root damage
The use of plastic mulch creates a practically weed free area around the plant, removing the need for cultivation except between the rows of plastic. Root damage associated with cultivation is therefore eliminated. Due to these factors, the use of plastic mulch leads to an improvement in overall crop growth and plant health.

The Rocca line of Plastic Mulch Retrieval equipment is designed for increase efficiency in the removal of plastic mulch for disposal or recycling. The quality of the implements benefit the farmer by reducing labor costs, increasing the speed of retrieval of plastic mulch, and making collection of the plastic mulch a much more compact process resulting in overall profit growth. The Rocca PMR system also allows for collecting (or leaving behind) the irrigation drip tape at the same time. A single Rocca PMR will provide increased efficiency to the farmer alone, but will double and triple when utilizing the two row and three row PMR systems.

Rocca Industries has also designed and engineered a crop mower made specifically for farmers that grow vined crops such as cucumber, melons, and other crops. the ROCCA M940 Vacuum Mower will cut and vacuum crop debris from on top of the plastic mulch, prior to plastic mulch retrieval, allowing for more efficient retrieval of plastic mulch. Plastic mulch is difficult to remove when vines and ground cover crops lay on top of the plastic, causing the plastic mulch to rip and tear into numerous pieces if the crop plant is not chopped and removed first.

Browse the ROCCA Plastic Mulch Retrieval systems from the PRODUCTS menu above along with the M940 Vacuum Mower, ROCCA Roller, Rocca Multi-Sep Recycling System and Rain-Flo plastic Mulch Layers.