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Cummins Sentry generator set averts disaster at vineyard

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Jim Coe and wife Karen owned a vineyard at Cooba, 30 km north-east of Gundagai in NSW.

They had water in the dam on their 1,820-hectare (4,500-acre) property, but the second-hand generator set they had bought several months earlier had failed, so no water was being pumped to the vines.

Currently, they have a Cummins Sentry genset reliably doing the job, and Jim still expresses amasement at the response of the Cummins Wodonga branch.

Jim and Karen have an eight-year contract to supply grapes to Casella Wines, producer of the Yellow Tail brand.

Jim and Karen are supplying Casella Wines with both chardonnay and shiraz grapes from their 53-hectare vineyard.

Water for the drip irrigation is provided by two submersible pumps in the dam. These pumps are powered by a generator set and supply one megalitre, one million litres of water every three hours to the vineyard.

On December 23 last year, in hot conditions, not one litre of water was being pumped.

Jim and Karen were trying to save money and had bought a second-hand genset.

The second-hand genset had done a ordinary job for six weeks and then at about 1 pm on December 23, it finally stopped working. The temperature was 34°C and there were vines that needed to be watered.

Their big worry was that no one was going to be able to help them since it was Christmas.

The people who sold the second-hand genset could not help and Jim finally got in touch with the sales manager at Cummins Wodonga.

Jim was familiar with the Cummins name because he had been a Case tractor dealer in the United Kingdom before emigrating to Australia in late 2001. Cummins engines power some Case models, including Steiger.

A new genset that met Jim’s requirements was at Cummins South Pacific headquarters in Scoresby (Melbourne), and Ipec trucked it overnight to the Wodonga (Vic) branch.

The sales manager put the genset on a trailer behind his car and speared up the Hume Highway towards Gundagai, 200 km away. Jim had the new genset here at 3 pm on December 24 and by 4.30 it was pumping water. So, in the space of just over 24 hours, they had gone from a potential disaster to being able to save their vines due to Cummins.

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