How to Tip the Weather Scale in your FavourPosted in: Technology November 23 2015
Weather represents roughly 70 percent of the uncontrollable risks a farmer faces. While there is little that can be done about the weather conditions themselves, there is plenty we can do to optimize the conditions that we are given.
The first step is the obtain the best possible understanding of the weather conditions and their impact on your growing conditions. There are many tools to best understand your local weather. I invite you to consider these, in order of value:
1) Free online weather services are everywhere — The information is fairly generic, but hey, it’s free!
2) Local TV meteorologists — These are professionals that are focused on your local area with access to multiple weather models. The distance from your farm to the city they broadcast from has an impact on the precision. But hey, this one is free as well!
3) Premium Digital Weather services — These models take advanced computer models, live meteorologists, satellite information and the grid of weather stations to provide the best information they can. These services range from a few hundred dollars a year to a few hundred dollars a month. They offer upgraded forecasting and radar services and are generally much better than the free weather information. This is a very affordable option to enhance your weather data.
4) On-farm weather stations — These are simply the most accurate option for any farm. They give real time results that are as local as possible. But this is also the most expensive option, with weather stations ranging from a few thousand dollars to well over ten thousand dollars. These units can also be paired with additional sensors to measure soil measure, plant growth, and more.
Most farms live on the free options, but should really upgrade to premium digital weather to get more accuracy. Larger farms are increasingly adopting their own weather stations in combination with premium digital weather services in an effort to get the best results they can.
The ultimate plan takes this all one-step further, pairing weather stations with soil moisture probes, premium digital weather and agronomist input about specific soil moisture and drainage properties.
This is how growers will get the best possible information about how to make the most of the weather cards they are dealt. It’s more work and expense, but when weather represents such a large factor affecting your farm’s production capabilities, it becomes well worth the investment.
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