New Tech is Great News for Growers

By / Magazine / April 20th, 2010 / 1

Dr. Jim Brandle, CEO of Vineland Research and Innovation Centre announced yesterday that a new freezing and frost prevention prototype will be installed at the Centre’s vineyard to pilot the technology for orchards and vineyards.

“This new prototype technology will help to ensure Ontario vineyards and orchards are protected when temperatures fall below freezing and jeopardize tender fruit and grape production,” explained Brandle. “Our partnership with Raytheon is a new chapter in Vineland’s on-going research and innovation to protect Canada’s food supply.” Raytheon is a company that specializes in engineering complex systems; so, it’s not surprising that Vineland has contracted them to install the Tempwave (TM) system.

The new technology uses low-level radiowave heat to prevent frost and freezing damage to crops. Tempwave (TM) energy is transmitted from towers located in an orchard or vineyard and changes the energy balance that slows cooling to prevent freeze damage. “This new technology will save crops,” continued Brandle. “Vineland’s leadership and partnership with Raytheon ensures that deep freezes will no longer threaten fruit and grapes for wine production. Shortly farmers will have access to an effective tool for managing their operations no matter what the weather.” Apart from the usual cold weather each winter, many growing areas throughout Canada are known to experience particularly harsh winters every few years. This technology will hopefully minimize the damage and financial losses that grape growers and other farmers experience during winter.

“We are excited to introduce this prototype to Vineland. This agreement leverages Raytheon’s expertise in radio frequency applications with Vineland’s mandate to introduce innovative horticultural technologies,” commented Lee Silvestre, Raytheon Vice President for Mission Innovation. Funding was provided in part by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs through the Innovation and Science Suite of programs under Growing Forward, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative.

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