Cobram Estate Olives is Australia’s largest producer and market leader of premium quality extra virgin olive oil with 2.4 million olive trees progressively planted on over 6,500 hectares of farmland in Central and North-West Victoria.
The company has evolved significantly since it was established in 1998 by Paul Riordan and Rob McGavin. The following year, the first olive tree was planted at Boundary Bend – where the majority of their frost fans are installed.
Today, the company has export customers in 17 countries, is an ASX publicly listed company and has a portfolio of premium brands. Being Australia’s largest vertically integrated olive oil producer, the 2021 olive harvest was the largest to date – producing a yield of over 16 million litres.
In July 2018, Cobram Estate Olives commissioned Climate Consulting Limited to complete 4 weeks of measurements as part of a detailed frost risk assessment towards mitigating frost damage and to provide a scientific basis for frost fan placement. Strong inversion layers were recorded indicating that frost fans would be effective in drawing warm air downwards. Frost risk maps were then used to place approximately 100 frost fans throughout the grove to protect areas of high risk.
Australian Frost Fans has subsequently been working with Cobram Estate Olives to protect their olives since 2018.
“The investment in FrostBoss® Frost Fans was seen as excellent value compared to the estimated $24 million lost to frost in the previous year”, explains Rob.
After completing the 2019 harvest in July that year, the harvest across the Boundary Bend and Boort groves produced 13.1 million litres, compared to the previous year’s frost-affected crop of 5.4 million litres.
Further frost risk assessments were conducted throughout the groves, and nowadays there are 137 machines at the Boundary Bend grove (between Mildura and Swan Hill), 13 machines at Boort (near Bendigo) installed in the early 2000s and 26 machines installed at the Wemen grove (between Mildura and Swan Hill).
“With a total of 176 frost fan machines, the orchard growers are given peace of mind knowing that frost mitigation is in place across the groves”.
Having a longstanding relationship with Cobram Estate Olives, the team at Australian Frost Fans are there every step of the way from sales support, to installation and servicing of the machines.