Paso Robles grower, Jason Domingos, saved 50% of his crop after July rain.
It is either “Feast or Famine” in California’s Central Coast wine country. In July Paso Robles was hit with a heavy thunderstorm dropping two to three inches by noon. Agrothermal Systems’ Jason Domingos, certified Thermaculture applicator, discusses his positive experience using the heat application after this unseasonal heavy rain fall.
Improved fruit set, greater harvest yields, sustainable pest control and improved wine quality are a few of the many benefits shown in three years of trials treating the crop with heat. However, with crops getting drenched from this much rain, Jason was concerned about the reduction in his crop due to this damaging rain event.
Severe rain mid-season can contribute to bunch rot and lead to greatly reduced yields “I treated 35 acres of the most disease prone varietals as test blocks and matched the test blocks with non-treated blocks,” explains Domingos. “After making a pass treatment with the Thermaculture unit, I was able to dry out all the rain water with the clusters that were susceptible to bunch rot. This resulted in dropping very minimal fruit with the treated block coming in at 70% of normal, while the untreated was 25% of normal.” By treating for bunch rot, in the treated block, Jason was able to save 50% of his crop that arrived at a savings of approximately $70,000. “That savings more than paid for the machine,” Domingos concluded.
Marty Fischer, Agrothermal CEO, now believes that drying crops off after a rain will be a major benefit to growers facing climate change. “ We saw a similar benefit in Oregon in 2013 when a late season rain was able to be dried off adding some 2-3 BRIX to the harvested crop. There has never been a tool up until now that allowed a grower to combat rain damage. Now Thermaculture provides that capability at a treatment cost for propane of only $4-6 per acre per pass!” continued Fischer “ Fighting rain damage with the unpredictable weather patterns we are seeing is a great additional benefit to the technology’s ability to improve fruit set, wine quality and pest control” From 2012-2015, Thermaculture has produced greater fruit set averaging 24% more berries per bunch on over 35 trials conducted in the US, New Zealand and more recently in Germany and France. “In 2014 harvest yields on 12 US trial blocks showed a 31% increase in harvest yields per vine,” states Fischer.
Agrothermal Systems has pioneered the use of Thermaculture® treament services as a means to increase yields, reduce pesticide needs and improve crop qualities. Contact us today.