BEATING FROST WITH WIND
Diesel burning frost pots, sprinklers and now wind machines will battle frosts on behalf of orchardists in Central Otago this fruit season.
The ﬁrst two wind machines have arrived in the region. One has been installed and the other has not, much to the owner’s disgust.
The machine, imported by Mr Everett Smith, of Millers Flat, was dropped during unloading operations at the port of Lyttelton recently, and a vital gearbox part broken. A replacement part is being ﬂown out from America. Mr Smith has calculated that by ﬁghting half a dozen good frosts by this method and not oil pots, he will have paid for the $14,000 machine, which will cost about another $6,000 to install. Standing on a 35 ft tower, the 17 ft aluminium alloy blade spins, moving a high volume of air at low velocity. The head of the machine also rotates every ﬁve minutes.
The principle is that the air current created disrupts the inversion layers, thereby breaking the frost. Mr Smith has seven hectares of apple and pear orchard at Millers Flat – six hectares in Teviot riding and one hectare across the Clutha river in Benger riding. The capacity of the wind machine will, according to Mr Smith, be able to keep the frosts off the six hectare block as well as the orchard across the river.
He also sees another advantage, and this is being able to dry dew from the apples and pears later in the season to allow picking to start earlier in the day.
Meanwhile, says the Otago Daily Times the second wind machine has been installed on Mr Lex Jocelyn’s property at Bannockburn, where it will be used to protect four hectares of apricot trees.