Powering the Queen of Plums
Since 2010, Bim Goodrich has been growing the biggest and best crop of Queen Garnet (Prunus salicina) plums in Australia, at his Good Rich Fruit Company farm, near Warroo, southeast of Inglewood in southern Queensland.
Five generations of Goodrich family members have worked on the farm that cultivates 75,000 trees over 60 hectares. In the peak picking season, 80 casual pickers are tasked with gathering 100 tonnes of fruit a day, hydro-cooling it and then storing it in a large, hanger-like cool-room, powered by a Scania generator.
“We start picking the fruit on Australia Day and the harvest lasts about three weeks,” Bim says. “When it is picked, the fruit is about 30-degrees and the hydro cool chills it to about 10-15-degrees, and then we store it in the cool room before it is collected the following day.
“The cool room and hydrocooler need 100 kW each of power and the Scania generator has been fantastic. It has not missed a beat in 6000 hours of operation, performing entirely to expectation. Servicing is taken care of by Nick Rowe at Country Link Mobile Mechanical Service.”
With a high value crop, and short picking season and 100 tonnes a day to be stored, there’s no margin for failure of the Scania engine – the cost of lost power for one day would be significant for the farm.
“We are the biggest grower of Queen Garnet plums in Australia. The fruit has recognised health benefits and as well as being eaten as fresh fruit, it is also processed and used in a number of health food supplements,” Bim says.
“We are exporting to China and looking at wider Asian and global markets,” says Rowan Berecry, who has managed the farm with Bim for the past 11 years.
“The flavour, the quality, the high nutritional value and the fact that we don’t use insecticides, fungicides or chemical fertilisers enhances the appeal of this fruit. The Queen Garnet was bred locally in Stanthorpe, and some are grown in Victoria, but it is a controlled variety, has up to seven times more antioxidants than other plums, and is known to lower blood pressure.”
With ongoing research into the wider medicinal benefits of the fruit, the value of the crop will only continue to increase, along with demand as further overseas markets open up.
“The six-cylinder Scania SG550 generator set provides high performance and reliability that farmers across this region can depend upon,” says Scania Power Solutions dealer Nick Rowe of Country Link, based in Goondiwindi, southern Queensland.
“With peak output of 550 kVa, the generator set has plenty of grunt to keep Bim’s hydro-cooler and cool room working at peak efficiency. The generator delivers a lot of power using very little fuel, and starts on the button every time. Our regular servicing schedule ensures plenty of cooling power is just the flick of a switch away,” Nick says.
“And thanks to Scania’s modular engine programme, the same motors that power the cool room’s genset can also power irrigation engines or water pumps, which provide the lifeblood to many growers in this region.”