Heat Ranger saves more crop
Heat Ranger is making waves in the agricultural industry by providing growers with the option of a cost effective, reliable source of warm air for climate enhancement to protect their crops while giving unrivalled opportunities in both risk management and
Heat Ranger is unique in that it does not need an inversion layer because it creates its own. Heat Ranger has proved to be effective in frosts over the last six years in both blackcurrant and grape crops and can protect down to -3oC using the blanket of warm air.
Heat Ranger is ideal for use on lower growing crops like grapes, blueberries, blackcurrants and lavender, as well as providing options for vegetable growers.
Heat Ranger is on wheels so it can be towed by a tractor from one site to another to work in with crop rotations and differences in timing. At around $150 per hour for the LPG you simply go out and turn it on, or have it turn itself on automatically, and ELGAS can refill the tanks next day. The sophisticated electronics monitor the machine’s functions and provide you with automation and a live screen on your computer or cell phone with feedback of what is going on. It couldn’t be any simpler.
Heat Ranger stands 5.3 meters tall and operates from a fixed position, with the turret rotating about every three minutes, blowing warm air out from the nozzle at 30oC as a blanket out over a 250m radius, covering 20 hectares total per machine.
With the small diameter six-blade fan and the double fibreglass body, the noise levels are well below the required limits, so it is neighbour friendly. LPG cost for a long frost is about $1,500 on 20 hectares whereas a helicopter for the same area costs approximately $15,000 for the same duration.
Heat Ranger was born from early work on blackcurrants in Canterbury, where it was proved that warm air over the top of the crop could save blackcurrants from frost. In November 2010 we had two early prototype machines which each protected 4 ha from a -3oC frost with zero crop loss. Three helicopters nearby had a crop loss of 15% and the unprotected area saw 65% of the crop fail in front of our eyes. This experience gave us the confidence and incentive to develop a commercial machine for the biggest climate challenge facing growers not just in New Zealand, but globally as well.
Heat Ranger is manufactured by Wyma Solutions in Christchurch and is serviced locally. Equipment finance is available and calculations prove Heat Ranger is the most cost effective option on the market (finance from Rabobank at around $46,000 per year, less than $2,500 per ha for frost protection paid off in five years, means it can be available to all growers).
The Heat Ranger team comprises Bruce Koller, chairman of Horticulture Export Authority for seven years and a former blackcurrant grower; Fred Phillips, an agricultural engineer with 40 years’ frost sprinkler system design experience; and Andrew Barclay and his team at Wyma Solutions, who provide high quality post-harvest vegetable equipment globally. Heat Ranger is also supported by The Composite Group’s fibreglass technology and Bentech’s smart control and communications.