In conjunction with parent company New Zealand Frost Fans, Australian Frost Fans has recently built a ROI calculator which it plans to make available as an online tool.
The calculator amortizes the capital cost of FrostBoss™ C49 machine/s over a 20 year life to provide the investment gain per annum, annual investment and ROI for the nominated block size and per hectare. The results are based on typical low range and high range fan coverage areas. Actual fan coverage areas are determined by individual site specific conditions.
The user simply inputs the crop type, average annual crop yield (when not affected by frost damage), estimated average annual reduction in yield due to frost/cold injury and the crop value ($ per tonne). Also required are the diesel cost per litre, cost of capital/loan interest rate (APR), estimated machine running hours (during frost events) and the block area requiring protection.
The scenario below uses an average Australian wine grape purchase price across all varieties of $565 per tonne (Source: National Vintage Report 2017, Wine Australia) and delivers a 43% ROI based on low range fan coverage. If the wine grape purchase price is increased to $1232 per tonne, which is the reported average for cool/temperate regions, the ROI increases to 211%.
Damaging frosts typically occur after a cold, cloudy day followed by a still night with clear skies. The earth quickly radiates any stored heat after sunset and an ‘inversion’ layer occurs with the air being coldest near the ground with a warmer layer of air above it.
However, it’s not all about avoiding catastrophic loss. The aim is also to protect against cold injury to increase a grower’s current yields and improve the quality of the fruit, whilst ensuring continuity of supply or shelf space, an increasingly important factor with winery-owned fruit increasing to 33% of the crush in 2017.
Frost fans are a well proven technology for mitigating the devastating losses that can occur from a significant frost event. Many growers use frost fans as a tool to combat cold injury by programming them to start automatically based on a preset temperature. Where once frost protection systems would have been used only when a serious frost was forecast, now frost fans will start automatically to prevent damage from cold events that may only last a few hours in the middle of the night or early morning.
Frost Fans work by utilizing warmer / drier air from the ‘inversion’ layer to create air movement at the fruiting/ flowering height in vineyards on still cold nights preventing damage to flowers, soft tissue and fruit.
Frost fans are prevalent in New Zealand and Australia’s wine growing areas, with FrostBoss™ fans being used in vineyards managed by large corporates through to independently owned, family run businesses.
Australian Frost Fans is the sister business to New Zealand Frost Fans, which manufactures the FrostBoss™ range of frost fans. The FrostBoss™ C49 (4-blade machine) is the best-selling machine in Australia and New Zealand. The FrostBoss™ C49 was developed with help from former Team New Zealand aerodynamics research engineer, Richard Karn, to optimize noise reduction by using a greater blade working area and slower rotational speed than a 2-blade fan. In addition, the much higher blade passage frequency of the 4-blade fan means the noise signature no longer has a low frequency beating sound, similar to an Iroquois helicopter.
Along with the FrostBoss™ C59 (5-blade machine), the FrostBoss™ C49 is the quietest machine on the market. Over 400 FrostBoss™ wind machines are sold annually throughout New Zealand, Australia, Turkey, Portugal and Canada covering a variety of crops. Together, the two businesses regularly service more than 2000 machines in NZ and Australia and its sophisticated computer programming option enables growers to access real-time monitoring of fans around the world.
As well as supply and installation of FrostBoss™ frost fans, Australian Frost Fans service and upgrade most makes of frost fan. You can read more about Australian Frost Fans and the FrostBoss™range at www.aussiefrostfans.com.au
Contact: Ben Daking – Australian Frost Fans
Tel +61 4 4811 1384 or 1800 797 629