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Frost protection & irrigation for Bay of Plenty kiwifruit orchard

Frost protection & irrigation for Bay of Plenty kiwifruit orchard

Bruntwood farms approached WaterForce in July 2010 for a frost protection, irrigation and monitoring system from an existing but new 10” Bore. The design and pricing was completed by Mark Hill and the project managed by Alistair Bell with completion December 2011.  

Bruntwood Farm’s Te Karaka orchard comprises of 6.2 canopy hectares of gold kiwifruit. It is a relatively flat site and located 14km north of Tauranga backing on to the harbour.  The frost protection is achieved by using Nelson R2000 sprinklers on 1.2m galvanized stakes, it is one hit system with a design flow rate of 185,000 liters/hour with the system being used as an irrigation system in the summer months.   Low angle 9 degree R2000 sprinklers were selected which have excellent uniformity for frost protection when above the canopy and avoids wetting fruit when under the canopy in irrigation mode.  

For frost protection the system uses a FrostWatch controller which when activated automatically starts the 160kVa on-site generator.  The generatorh is alot larger than needed so easily drives the 55kW Capari submersible pump from a depth of 48m through a 150mm riser. The pump is not alone!  It’s equipped with a bore low level probe, motor temperature and pressure transducer with appropriate safety cut outs to protect the pump.  The Capari pump was selected over others due to its high efficiency and performance, the 10” pump only needs to be coupled to an 8” motor, a saving both on capital and running costs.  The FrostWatch with a built in GSM modem also text messages the orchard managers with pre-frost warnings and again on startup of the system, no matter the time of day.

Bruntwood Farms required online monitoring of parameters including; soil moisture at 200mm and 400mm as well as rainfall, temperature and flow meter data.  All of this data is available to view online from Bruntwood Farms private login on the WaterForce website from any computer with internet access around the world.  The soil moisture and rainfall data are proving to be a very helpful tool in the orchards system by avoiding unnecessary watering which in turn saves money and most importantly water.