Windmill: A Way to Extend the Growing Season
Les Petits Fruits de Pré d’en Haut Inc.
Canada/New Brunswick Growing Forward (Non-Business Risk Management Programs)
Enabling Agricultural Research and Innovation
With global warming of the planet, we are noticing more and more inconsistent patterns of temperature ranging from high to low temperatures in a couple of hours and days. In the fall of 2011, we had frost that was unusual for our region, and we lost quite a few crops due to frost damage. Therefore, one of our main objectives in purchasing a windmill is to reduce the risk of unexpected frost that could damage our main fruit crops; the highbush blueberry. In the fall of 2011, we estimated that our operation lost approximately $15,000 worth of highbush blueberry due to a major frost, minus two degrees centigrade (–2OC) that occurred on October 6th. A secondary main objective would be to extend the growing season of highbush blueberry and possibly with time extend the growing season of other small fruit such as the raspberry and strawberry. We have planted many late varieties of highbush blueberry that will only be ready for harvest around October 25th; therefore, it would be very beneficial for our operation to extend our growing season.
Upon project completion, once the windmill is installed, we will monitor the temperature every day in order to evaluate how effective the windmill is during a major frost such as we have had in the fall of 2011. We presently know that our highbush blueberry will get frost damage at any temperature lower than minus two degrees centigrade (–2OC).
We installed the first wind machine in the province of NB with a main objective to protect 11 acres of highbush blueberry from unexpected frost. Fortunately, due to this year’s warm season, the blueberry matured approximately 2 weeks earlier than previous years. When the cold temperature arrived in the fall most of our crops were already harvested. Therefore, we only had to start the wind machine one night, on September 27, 2012. We set the auto start to start at 2.2 degrees centigrade (36 Fahrenheit), and set the shutdown at 3.8 degrees centigrade (39 Fahrenheit). As soon as the temperature hit below 2.2 degrees centigrade the wind machine started at 11:34 p.m. for 15 minutes. It started again at 1:00 a.m. for an hour or so. Afterwards it started a few times during the night for an hour or so, and the last start was at 6:15 a.m.