Whether you own an apple orchard, a vineyard or a cherry operation, the early days of spring can be cruel to your crops. It doesn’t take much for heavy frost to damage delicate buds. Orchard owners have long dealt with frost control, from old-school smudge pots to today’s more modern systems.
With orchards spreading far and wide across the U.S., the economic impact incurred with frost damage can be detrimental to our nation’s fruit and vegetable crops. One change many fruit producers have made is switching their frost control systems over to propane. Offering both versatility and convenience, propane-powered frost control delivers several benefits to your operation.
Long-term, storage flexibility
Propane is a flexible fuel with an eternal shelf life. Implementing a propane system means even during years you may not need frost control, your propane tanks are fine sitting in the fields. “Frost control doesn’t necessarily happen each and every year,” says Les Klukas, senior propane account manager, CHS. “Using a propane-powered system means you don’t have to worry about the product in the tank ever going bad.”
In addition to storage longevity, excess propane from frost-control systems can be applied to an irrigation system simply by transferring machines. Depending on your needs during the season, leftover propane can also be used in your home.
Financial and fuel efficiency
Installing a propane-powered frost control system requires less initial investment than a traditional heating system. At a relatively low price-per-gallon, operations using propane for heating can see reduced costs across the board.
Aside from greater financial return, producers can expect to see increased fuel efficiency, as well. “Today’s models are operating more efficiently,” says Klukas. “Newer systems are running on fewer gallons per hour when compared to older versions, saving producers more on their overall expense. There are some of the highest emission standards on these propane engines, too, so they are very clean burning in your orchard.”
Most propane systems come equipped with technology that helps keep frost out of sight and out of mind. Units come with sensors that will automatically turn the machine on when the temperature drops to a certain level. Some machines come with remote starters or even iPad-controlled mechanisms.
If you’ve increased your acreage or recently changed crops, it may be an ideal time to rethink your frost control system. Reach out to your local Cenex dealer today to find engines that suit a variety of uses on your operation.
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