Originally we started using 36ply netting with both our 3cm and 4cm hay nets. This ply served us well, and I am still using a few nets in this ply to this day. Around 2014, we upgraded to 48ply in both 3cm and 4cm nets as this ply was a bit stronger and more resilient. Occasionally we would have someone contact us and ask us to go a little stronger, so we did.
During 2016 we started upgrading our small, medium and larges to 60ply. We started with our 4cm range and added 6cm hay nets. As the 48ply was still more than adequate for the vast majority of horses, we kept this range in the round bale nets, but by 2017 we phased out all 48ply nets to have the entire range of knotted nets to be 60ply this out. At this point we also added 3cm 60ply nets to our range, making us the first Australian supplier of slow feed hay nets to do this.
There are some nets now on the Australian market that are offering 78ply or greater. We don't wish to follow this path at the moment as we are more than satisfied with our current products and their longevity. We have a few concerns relating to these thicker plys as well.
- Any thicker than 60ply means that the netting itself is getting quite think and therefore more coarse and abrasive. This has the potential to be harsh on horses and livestock teeth, gums and lips.
- The knots within the netting will also be bigger, the bigger they are the easier for a horse to grab the knot in their teeth and chew at it and once they learn to do this, then they can quickly put holes in their nets. This quickly negates the benefit of a thicker ply.
- Sometimes it can be a good thing for things to break and allow horses to get free. If a horse managed to get itself caught in a net somehow, then personally I would want my horse to be able to break free. If the horse can't break the net then it could possibly hurt itself?
- We have noticed that these 78ply nets are coming from a totally new company in Asia from the rest of the nets that are sold as slow feeders in Australia. Therefore what they are calling 78ply, could quite likely be equivalent to our 60ply or even our 48ply as it depends on what they individually recognise as 48 or 60ply as there is no ‘standard’ for this.
- Our nets have no metal joins holding them together, so nothing nasty to chew.
- Finally, if a horse really needs to have these extra thick ply's, then maybe they just aren't suited to slow feeders or perhaps the horse has stomach ulcers and is merely trying to relieve the burning feeling in its stomach. So this is a good thing to check out too.
- Our Australian distributor of this polyethylene netting uses this netting for a VAST array of jobs in Australia and has NEVER seen a requirement to go more than 60ply, so we trust their 50+ years judgement on this as they have sourced our netting from the most reputable companies around the world. All hay net businesses on the East Coast of Australia use this same supplier.