Tow & Blow - What the statistics say about frost
Posted Jun 18, 2020
Australia is renown for its ever-changing climate and diverse weather conditions. Whilst this makes for extreme beauty and is a huge attraction it can be hazardous for growers most especially those in viticulture & horticulture.
Just last week the ABC released a news article citing dropping temperatures as winter takes root across the nation. Jessica Schremmer and Cherie von Hörchner reported
With temperatures plunging across many regions of Australia farmers have been forced to take radical action in a bid to save crops, but some are already badly damaged.
Each year, frosts destroy millions of dollars worth of crops in Australia.4
The full article outlines some of the extensive damage frost has already done in Australia this year. Citing damage to avocado crops, roses and citrus fruits. Read full article here.
Frost is extremely dangerous to crops and during the growing season can reduce, damage or even eliminate an entire crop. A report published by Taylor and Francis Online1 written after Tasmania was hit by widespread frosts in 2006 details the following:
Spring frosts are a significant hazard to vineyards in most cool climate regions. Damage to young shoots, as a result of spring frost, can severely reduce the current crop, as well as reduce the crop of following seasons. Direct impacts on flowering and vegetative growth in both the current and subsequent year may influence longer-term vine balance, with the indirect effects of a single frost damage event potentially continuing into a third year (Trought et al. 1999).
It is widely recognised that the effects of a single frost impacts a vineyard not only for the season in which the frost was experienced but also for years to come. It is therefore extremely important to invest in some method of frost control.
There are a number of frost fighting solutions available many of which require expensive infrastructure installation and ongoing costs. Wind machines are one of the most proven methods of frost control. These machines are also very affordable.
Delmade Tow & Blow in position pre-frost
A portable wind machine is very easy to maintain and is a relatively low investment when considered against the protection it provides.
Wind machines do not produce heat. They mix the warm air above the inversion layer with cold air near the surface. This means the coldest air around the vines is moved, preventing the vines from freezing. Wind machines work best when a strong inversion layer is present.
What's sets the Tow & Blow apart from the rest:
- Quiet with a noise level of only 45-50 decibels at 300m
- Low fuel consumption at only 5L / Hr
- No unproductive land for foundations required
- Very simple servicing, just lower the boom.
- Auto Start function, for a temperature, triggered startup.
- Shroud on the fan, supercharges airflow for increased efficiency.
As winter settles across the nation and our thoughts turn to frost protection we should also think of the damaging spring frosts just around the corner. Making it through one frost with minimal damage does not guarantee the next frost will not damage an entire crop for generations to come.
In Tasmania where temperatures are apt to plummet much lower than their mainland counterparts having some form of frost protection in place would be advisable. After all, any frost protection can be viewed as crop insurance and whilst at the time it may seem like a large outlay in money if frost protection is done correctly it could save thousands of dollars in loss at a future point.
When making the decision to invest in frost protection it is important to ensure that vineyard location and specifics are taken into consideration. Factors such as the location, wind speed, valley & troughs throughout the vineyard and proximity to natural landmarks such as water & hills all affect the results of a chosen method of frost protection.
At Delmade we provide a free mapping and consultation service to assist with frost protection. If you'd like to talk to frost protection expert? Get in contact we would love to talk.
#1 Frost Protection Solution for you!
Delmade is super pleased to be able to offer you a frost protection solution that is proven in the Australian environment.
We are proud of our durable and expertly designed equipment and our ability to provide outstanding service, back up spare parts and components and expert advice.
Credit must go to the following sources. Both sources 1 and 3 provided invaluable insights into the cost and devastation frost can cause on a Vineyard and the respective methods of minimising that risk. The Frost Protection: fundamentals, practice, and economics is, in particular, an excellent read.
(2010) Effect of frost damage and pruning on current crop and return crop of Pinot Noir, New Zealand Journal of Crop and Horticultural Science, 38:3, 209-216,