In recent years, between March and May, many European growers have had to increasingly deal with night frost. Since last year, Swift International has been distributing mobile night frost control machines. These are developed and manufactured in New Zealand. As a distributor, Swift International works together with its service partner Zeelandtrac in the Netherlands. The machines that are to be distributed in the region arrive in ’s Gravenpolder. Here they are prepared for use, sold, and collected. Or they're delivered and set up on-site. Zeelandtrac also does technical support and demos.
But what exactly is a mobile night frost machine? "A night frost machine sucks in the upper warm air and mixes it with the cold air near the ground," explains Ernst Slabbekoorn of Frostfans. "It isn't a new principle. It's been around for over 40 years. In 2012, New Zealand began developing mobile versions of these machines. In 2019, the machine was entirely updated and launched in the current version. Hundreds of these models are already running around the world. Farmers appreciate its mobility, ease of use, and efficiency."
"Its propeller is directly driven. A relatively small motor (23.7 pk-diesel) is, therefore, more than enough to create tremendous airflow. It can protect up to 4.5 hectares. The machine can smoothly rotate or pivot between zero and 360 degrees. You can set its rotation speed too. You must position the machine correctly to get good protection."
Farmers can also employ the night frost machine for drying and pollination. You can mechanically tilt its head, making it possible to use in a sloping field. You can also set the machine in three different positions. And the start/stop temperature can be set. So, the machine can switch itself on/off automatically.
"We've already sold dozens of these machines in the region. They provide growers with a perfect, easy-to-use tool. They have an important advantage. During this critical time, the crop and soil don't become soaked with water," continues Ernst. "There are now machines in operation at top, small, and stone fruit farms. And also in citrus, grape, and flower bulb cultivation. Because of COVID-19, we still have a good number of machines in stock. That's despite the logistical obstacles. We can deliver these for use during the spring of 2021."
"We also have a few new models on the way. They can cover an area of seven hectares. This model complies with all EU standards too. It has a 66hp four-cylinder Kubota built-in and is just as quiet as the smaller model. Frost is a huge risk. It's often difficult to calculate quality and quantity-wise. We offer an excellent tool that can last for 20+ years. And when there's frost, you often make the money you invested back in a single season," Ernst concludes.
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