Ecocopter presents safe solution to protect crops from frost

Ecocopter presents safe solution to protect crops from frost

21-Aug-2023 Source: Ecocopter

The use of helicopters to control frost in crops is a solution that has spread in recent years in Chile, and has several advantages over other traditional methods, such as sprinkler irrigation, fans or torches. Among them, its efficiency stands out, since a single helicopter can cover several hectares in an hour; its speed, since it can easily move between different areas, and its operation in accordance with water scarcity, since it does not consume water.

In addition, the use of helicopters for frost control is safe and reliable, provided that the necessary security measures are followed, such as marking and lighting fields, constant monitoring of environmental and geographic conditions, and coordination with aviation authorities.

“Frost control with our helicopters is an effective alternative to protect crops. Its application has allowed us as Ecocopter to save crops of high economic value and plantations destined for export. It is that the helicopter, thanks to its versatility, can fly over the sprouts at a controlled height and low speed, replacing the very cold air that is in contact with them, by the warmer air product of the thermal inversion, helped by the heat. produced by the helicopter’s turbines”, affirms Francisco Arriagada, commercial manager of Ecocopter.

Although winter is the time of year with the most frosts, the problem also extends into spring. In winter, the fruit trees are in the vegetative process and resist frost, but in spring many fruit trees flower. It is at this time when the frosts are damaging to the buds, the frosts kill the flowers and therefore considerably reduce future production.

It should be noted that the most important Chilean wineries, which produce international quality wines, have helicopters to combat this invisible but lethal enemy. Figures from March 2023, total Chilean wine exports reached 64.4 million liters, production that should continue. That is why the propellers of the aircraft become protagonists, functioning as a huge vertical air fan. Air that manages to increase the layer on the soil of the crops by a few degrees, enough to raise the temperature in the plantations and thus reduce or neutralize the effects caused by frost.

“The Ecocopter helicopters that have already begun air service for frost control in the O’Higgins and Maule regions are the AS 350 B3 / H125 models that comply with all the security measures required by these operations. Our aircraft and expert crews in this type of flight provide our clients with security for their plantations and success for their production,” says Arriagada.

In Chile, more than 60 varieties of grapes for wine are cultivated, the most awarded are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Carmenere and Syrah among the reds, while Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay are among the whites. A large part of them are monitored and protected from the sky with helicopters, with the purpose that they offer their best world-class musts.

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