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Frost Warning

For many countries in the Northern Hemisphere frost causes more damage to crops than any other weather event. Severe frost events in Florida for example have caused multi-billion damages in Citrus alone. Thus active frost protection is of significant importance, and farmers need to know precisely when to take action – timely data from their fields is of crucial importance!

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While there are many definitions of “frost” or “freeze”, we would like to use the one adopted by
FAO: “A frost is the occurrence of an air temperature of 0 °C or lower, measured at a height of
between 1.25 and 2.0 m above soil level, inside an appropriate weather shelter.”

Once such conditions are expected or forecasted, farmers need to either take protective action
before frost hits, such as wetting their top soils through irrigation, if possible, or they need to
go on standby and keep a close eye on the temperature in their crops to determine when to
take action by initiating an “active frost protection method”.

The most popular of these active methods are

  • Wind machines
  • Heaters
  • Irrigation systems (overhead sprinklers and surface)

So what should farmers do? Move to their crops with a sleeping bag and a thermometer?
Rather not – ADCON has a better solution!

For frost protection there are several equally important parameters a farm manager needs to know: air temperature, wet-bulb temperature and dew point. And these he needs to know really fast, in near-real time! To this very date this is a major application for ADCON’s UHF radio system, as it makes farmers totally independent from mobile phone infrastructure and the potential delays in data transmission caused by external influences (mobile phone network being down or under overload, power failures, internet congestions and the like).

Once the ADCON RTU has transmitted raw temperature data to the base station, addVANTAGE Pro kicks in and automatically calculates dew point and wet-bulb temperature. With the alarm thresholds properly set in addVANTAGE Pro, the farmer will receive even a phone call with a voice message, informing him that critical temperatures have been reached, enabling him to active his systems prior to reaching damaging conditions.

However, farm managers need to prepare well before they head off into frost season! Extremely cold temperatures are not only a challenge to crops, but also to batteries. So make sure that your batteries are well charged, that your thresholds are set right (ideally set multiple alarm thresholds, such as a “yellow” and a “red” alert), and keep in mind that transmission delays might occur. If you run your radio network during summer season in 15 minute intervals, you might want to reduce that interval to 7.5 minutes during frost season.

And if you want to receive voice messages from your addVANTAGE Pro server, please do not forget to activate the phone call option. addVANTAGE Pro will then call you on your landline and play a recorded message. This option will keep your phone ringing for a number of times, and make sure that you will actually wake up!

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