NFO study trip visits Betrieb Manner

"Wind turbines saved 100% of our apples during the night frost"

"We have 30 hectares of apples, 3.5 hectares of cherries and 2 hectares of pears. Until 2006 we were connected to Landgard. When I took over the company, I chose to move forward as a free egrower and at the moment we grow top fruit for the firm Krings and soft fruit for Frutania. We do the sorting and packaging ourselves and in the high season we also sometimes sort some volume for Krings," says Michael Manner of Obsthof Manner.

The turbines are fixed to a truck bed to make them mobile

Michael Manner's company is in a valley, where the temperatures are an average of 2 degrees lower than in Alterndorf. Although hail causes few problems, late night frost does. "To combat the night frost, we have five wind turbines that we turn on during cold nights. A number of years ago I was able to buy three second hand turbines for a friendly price. Normally these installations cost 35,000 Euro but I was able to buy them for 5,000 Euro," continues Michael. "The wind turbines have a reach of 7 hectares, but starting them up takes half an hour. You have to turn them on on time. An additional problem is the noise that the wind turbines make when on. For this reason I have to request a permit from the local government to be able to use them."

"2015 was the first year we were allowed to use the turbines. In the frost year of 2017 we already made our money back on them. During a cold night that dropped to 6.2 degrees below freezing we saved 60% of the harvest with the machines. During a night of -3.8 degrees we had no drop out at all due to the machines. Although irrigating the plots is still the best way to protect the flowers against the frost, the wind machines are a good alternative when irrigation isn't an option," according to Michael.

In the spring of 2017 Manner planted 3 hectares of Morgana. "In 2017 the trees suffered from a lot of mildew because they were growing so quickly. We also had a lot of problems with spots on the fruits. 2018 was a good year without many problems, the prices were also good. The prices were around 90 cents per kilo. We will have to wait and see what this season will bring this year, but we have a lot of faith in the Morgana," concludes Michael.

Morgana apples

For more information:

Obsthof Manner

Click here for the article about the visit to Fruithandel Wouters.

Click here for the article about the visit to Schmitz-Hübsch.

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