Barry Avery is a veteran of the avocado industry having grown avocados for over 30 years as well as consulting and serving on the Board of Avocados Australia, the representative industry body for the Australian avocado industry.
Barry recently sold his 40 hectares of avocado orchards in Robinvale – which were protected by FrostBoss® C49 (4-blade) machines – and bought 8 hectares at Invincible Bend in Tol Tol. Here he’s just finished building a new home next to the Murray River.
The plan was to retire from growing but despite the “terrible environment”, Barry has planted avocado trees, unable to resist the challenge. The new trees were hit by frost back in June and many will have to be replaced. Now looking to protect the trees with a FrostBoss® C49 machine, Barry concedes he “should have known better and done it earlier – frosts are an annual event in this area – but there was a lot going on with building the new house.”
“One consolation for growing a tropical tree in this climate is you don’t need to spray for tropical pests – much easier if you want to introduce organic growing practices.”
Barry has been working with agronomist, Lisa Martin from Ripe Horticulture, to establish the right programme of nutrients, which he says “is quite different to what the Queensland growers would use.”
“But ‘Mother Nature’ is the biggest challenge. Growers are starting to appreciate the unseen damage which even light frosts can cause, including damage to developing fruit buds. For avocados, frost fans are the default option," according to Barry. “Irrigation is only good down to -2°C, otherwise the pipes can freeze and the trees split down the centre. Similarly, with the high hours of required protection against frost damage and cold injury – which can be well over 100 hours per annum – helicopters would be just too expensive.”
Given the high running hours, fuel efficiency of the fan is an important consideration. Compared to a conventional 2-bladed fan, the FrostBoss® C49 blade is designed to have the correct aerodynamic pitch all the way from the tip to the root of the blade. This means every section of the blade is angled correctly to produce the same wind speed, from the tip to the root. This produces a uniform wind speed across the whole fan blade, and so no turbulent mixing … a uniform tube of wind speed from the fan disc, where all the energy is used to produce wind speed not turbulence.
And the result is a quieter, more fuel efficient frost fan with a better coverage area.