Frost can easily destroy the entire crop production.
For farmers who work hard throughout the year, frost is a terrifying scenario. Most farmers believe that they can’t do a lot to protect their crops from frost. However, outside of the use of preventative frost protection practices, farmers may also rely on various types of protection technology.
Crop production is both achievable and challenging. Everyday it’s a gamble, with possible extreme weather events constantly threatening the yields. For farmers who give their best by working hard throughout the year, frost is the worst possible scenario.
So the question is: Why is frost so painful for farmers? Well the answer is simple. Frost is a silent enemy that appears in just one night and leaves terrible consequences.
Frost is a silent enemy that appears in just one night and easily destroys the entire crop.
One of the most daunting facts is that frost may easily destroy the entire crop production. It may damage the plant in every growth stage. However, terminal young growth, blossoms, and young fruits are particularly susceptible.
Is There any Hope to Protect Plants From Frost?
Unfortunately, most farmers believe that they can’t do a lot to protect their plants from frost and just pray for a miracle to happen. However, the most successful farmers always seek preventative measures and solutions to minimize possible frost risk.
Frost risk can be managed in two different ways:
- Passive frost protection management – based on frost protection practices that aim to prevent frost occurrence, such as site and plant selection, choosing the most suitable planting date, mulching, creating physical barriers that protect the crops, covering row crops with plastic tunnels, and frost protection nets
- Active frost protection management; involves the use of frost protection technology just before the frost occurs (usually the night before).
Along with the aforementioned passive and active measures, successful frost protection is almost unimaginable without quality plant nutrition management, i.e. treatment with amino acids.
Frost Protection Technology: A Trace of Hope for Farmers
Passive preventative measures are often inadequate in providing appropriate frost protection. The most successful farmers leave nothing to chance. Therefore, they often rely on various types of frost protection technology.
The top 3 types of frost protection technology include:
- Heating, or burning, is an old farm practice used for frost protection in orchard or vineyard crop productions. Heaters provide supplemental heat to help reduce plant energy loss. Theoretically, heaters work by raising the temperature of metal objects that radiate heat (i.e. stack heaters) or as open fire systems.
The efficiency of heaters depends on the type of fuel used, as well as the number and distribution of heaters in the specific area.
Regarding the fuel type, there are the three different types of heaters, these include:
Solid fuel heaters
Liquid fuel heaters
Generally, the heating system is often criticizied as being inefficient and requires proper management. In order to improve its efficiency, it’s recommended that the heating system consists of a large number of smaller heaters properly distributed throughout the orchard.
- Wind machines
Unlike heaters, wind machines do not produce heat; they just redistribute heat that is already present in the air. Of the major principle of air distribution, there are the three different types of wind machines:
Horizontal fans – mix warmer air from above with colder air near the surface, frequently used in frost protection
Vertical fans – pull in cold dense air near the ground and blow it upwards, thus enabling the mixing with the warmer air above
Helicopters – mix warmer above-ground air down into the orchard using temperature inversion; rarely an affordable solution
Furthermore, wind machines can also be classified as stationery (fixedly established in a specific area) or portable (helicopters or vehicle mounted). Stationery horizontal fans are a frequently used frost protection technology. They consist of a steel tower that contains a large rotating fan near the top.
- The irrigation system
The irrigation system is a widely used type of frost protection technology. So, the question is: How does irrigation help? First, when water condenses, cools, or freezes, the temperature around the water rises. When irrigation water freezes, it releases the latent heat that protects the plant from frost injury.
Sprinklers; widely used frost protection technology; efficient sprinkle frost protection is based on uniform application in rapid intervals. There are three types of sprinklers used for frost protection:
Over plant sprinklers; water is applied over the plant canopy
Under plant sprinklers; water is applied on the ground surface under plants or lower plant parts.
Besides the aforementioned types of frost protection technology (heaters, wind machines, and irrigation systems), farmers can also use fog machines, electric heating cables, or various combinations of frost protection technology (i.e. a combination of wind machines and heaters). Fog machines create artificial fog by producing small droplets, blocking radiation heat loss. However, the system is usually expensive and not as efficient. The same can be said of electric heating cables placed on the ground or above the canopy (expensive and inefficient).
- Tasos on December 8, 2021 @ 19:13:54
This post was created by Filip Gerin on July 14, 2021.
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