Positioning Temperature Sensors for Frost Protection in Northern Cranberry Production
Frost can cause serious economic losses in cranberry fields, particularly in northern regions. When the air temperature reaches a low critical threshold, sprinklers are operated to protect vines, to insure crop production and profitability. To avoid frost injury, proper positioning of temperature sensors is critical. A field experiment was designed and conducted to determine the optimal installation height of sensors above soil surface. Temperature data was used to investigate the spatial temperature gradient in the section of a cranberry field. A computer simulation of the temperature profile was performed to simulate the effect of wind velocity on the prediction of air temperature. For optimal use, sensors should be installed at the height of the canopy and several meters away from a dike. On nights with low wind velocities, the canopy air temperature was 2.7˚C below that of 500 cm above the ground. The sensors should be put at least five m away from a dike to avoid the transfer of heat from the dike to the sensor. Also, multiple sensors should be installed because of the large variations in air temperature that were measured across the experiment. The simulated temperature indicated that wind velocity strongly influenced the temperature estimation; the effect of the wind on temperatures gradients was greater when the wind velocity was low (<2.3 m/s).