A new machine has been added to the Agrothermal line of machines featuring the flexibility to treat both row and vertical crops with just a switch of the vent assembly. The Agrotherm XR1 is the first of several new designs being made exclusively for Agrothermal Systems global network by Aeolo S.A.de C.V. of Querétaro, Mexico. The machine design is completely self-contained, so that it can be pulled by an ATV or Gator type vehicle when in trailer mode or can be lifted in three-point hitch configuration by a conventional farm tractor.
According to Tim Matson, Director of Field Operations at Agrothermal, who worked with Aeolo to develop the new machine, “The XR1 covers crop configurations that our Agrotherm XT is unable to treat and opens up the produce business for Thermaculture. This includes narrow row vertical crops such as cane berries, herbs, and staked vegetables. It also can be used for vineyards with row widths of 4.5’ (1.4 meters) up to 6′ (1.8 meters). The same machine with a vent change can bring Thermaculture to two 80” (2 meter) beds for many items including onions, strawberries, leafy greens, celery, and potatoes. These are items that can use Thermaculture to reduce or eliminate the need for pesticides and at fraction of the cost.”
Recent research studies on tomatoes released by Agrothermal Systems show that Thermaculture is as effective at controlling whiteflies and thrips as the conventional grower pesticide routine, and the company maintains that heat can control small soft-bodied insects with their lifecycle on host crops, as well as most mildews.
Continued Matson, “The new machine burns propane to create heat at a rate of approximately 4 gallons per hour at costs in the US of $6-8 per hour of use. We get 10 hours of continual work for each propane refill. This cost per acre works out to about $3 or $4 per acre per treatment, which is way less than a typical fungicide or insecticide treatment at upwards of $40 per acre per pass or more. Not only is Thermaculture inexpensive, but it also eliminates the need for hazmat suits, respirators and complex clean up at days’ end. You just turn off the gas valve and go home.” The new machines weigh approximately 1,750 pounds (750 kilos) or a little more than half of the Agrotherm XT.
The machine will be priced in the U.S. and Canada at $29,900 (USD) plus tax and shipping charges. AEOLO President, Adrian Rivera stated, “We expect to be able to build and deliver machines in 8-10 weeks from the time orders are placed in North America and Central America. For Europe and other offshore markets, buyers will need to add about 4 more weeks.” Rivera also heads Agronatturalia, the exclusive distributor for Agrothermal Systems in Mexico and Central America. Added Rivera, “We expect a very large market in Central America for this machine and other larger row crop machines now in development at Aeolo.”
Marty Fischer, CEO of Agrothermal Systems announced that the new machine would be exhibited for the first time at the Agrothermal Systems booth (i39) during the World Ag Expo in Tulare, CA, Feb. 12-14.
According to Fischer, “We are also offering this new machine to selected prospects in Canada and in Europe next week at Fruit Logistica in Berlin. For a long time, we have known that Thermaculture was a pest control breakthrough for most food crops. Now Aeolo machines allow us to offer this non-chemical, sustainable technology, that will improve pest control for most growers, while significantly lowering input costs. The Thermaculture process reduces environmental, grower, labor and ag community risks, and fits beautifully into both conventional and organic production. In Europe, the XR1 offers smaller growers, who dominate EU agriculture and grow both vertical and row crops, the option of one machine fitting all needs. It also opens up narrow row viticulture in vineyards with rows that are 1.4 – 1.8 meters. Thermaculture is the perfect solution for EU producers who have experienced pesticide bans that are reducing the arsenal of grower tools.”
Agrothermal Systems is based in Napa, California, and is a dba of Lazo TPC Global, Inc. a California Corporation. Agrothermal has pioneered the use of Thermaculture as a means to improve food quality, increase yields, reduce pesticide needs and manage crop damage from inclement weather events. The company holds patents on Thermal Pest Control and has patents pending on Thermal Plant Treatment for agricultural crops.