DIY a frost protection wind machine

Deutzdx3

Member
I have heard of serious damage on the continent to vineyards this year. My orchards are not having a great time of things but too early to say what size crop there might be yet.
If I was using frost protection it would have been every night for more than 2 weeks, that would literally be exhausting.
It certainly would be exhausting. It’s that balance between crop damage, cost and time.
I heard frost has been a real problem in France this spring. Only time will tell what damage.

Local vineyard I speak to said frost reduced their yield by over half 2 years go. Only small but the income reduction was huge.

There are static machines out there that start automatically but how many you would need depends on acreage.
 

Kidds

Member
Horticulture
Wow,

Sorry to hear that. Doesn’t make it worth picking at that rate. What are you growing?
That was apples. We had 3 very cold nights in late May, it took out the fruitlets not the blossom.
I was hoping for a better go of things this year but not looking very promising so far, frost throughout blossom and hail last Friday. Too early to say how much harm they suffered, might even get away with it.
First time we had severe frost damage in 30-40 years so can't complain too much.
 

Fruitbat

Member
Trade
Location
Worcestershire
Last year frost took my crop from 30 tons down to 3 tons!
Yep, I've had one those years too while back 1/2 bin of Cox (160kg) instead of 30+. I think it worked out at about 1-2 apples/tree. Wore more boot leather out than the crop was worth. It sold quickly though....

I've not seen much in the way of mobile frost beaters, but there is a chap down Newent way that's got a big fan (3m dia) mounted on a vertical shaft in a cowling that draws the cold air in at the base and blasts it straight up. I think it's used in conjunction with a couple of small fires higher up the orchard to provide a temperature gradient.
 

Fruitbat

Member
Trade
Location
Worcestershire
Most apple blossom is ok to -4 until it starts to open, then anything below -2 will finish it off quite quickly. You tend to get the coldest temperatures just before dawn, 5-6am at this time of the year, then the sun rises and it warms up. However, despite the Met office and their millions spent on forecasting, you can never be too confident, or that you’re orchard doesn’t sit in a cold spot. I think you’d need to be having some sort of air disruption (fire?) going before midnight, then an early morning to strike up the fans.
 
Could you use compost ?

I don't know how much heat is required but a compost heap holds significant amounts of heat - you could either tip it in piles or pipe the heat into the orchard on demand.

You'd need a local recycling centre nearby (10 miles) or could even have recycling as part of the business model.
 

renewablejohn

Member
Location
lancs
Whats wrong with using a good old fashioned square bale straw chopper will easily blast air out in both directions and if you want to be posh add a calor gas tank and burner.
 

box

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
NZ
NZ Frost Fans style machine or don't bother. Plenty of half assed smaller machines, heaters, burners, PTO driven things etc have been tried, it always ends in tears when it's not enough to keep the frost away.

There's a reason why the proper ones have massive blades and are driven by a 150+ hp diesel engine, there's also a reason why the proper ones are far higher than 7m.

Ultimately it depends on what you're wanting to spend, how much area you want to protect and whether you want the job done right or not. It doesn't take much to lose a crop.

There's not much to them
Big motor, 90' gearbox, driveshaft, 90' gearbox, centrifugal clutch, big fan. The fan rotates slowly to blow in all directions.
 
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Rejuvenating swards: Which option is best?

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Written by Brian McDonnell

Maintaining grass quality during mid-season grazing is important. Farmers can maintain quality by entering ideal grazing covers of 1,300 – 1,500kg DM/ha, and grazing down to a residual of 4cm every rotation.

If you are now in a situation where cows are not cleaning out paddocks as well as they should be, leading to the development of steamy grass within the sward, here are some options.

Common options for rejuvenating swards include:

  1. Take a silage cut, probably into bales, remove the material and start again with the aftermath...
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