Hyperlocal agriculture weather forecast for better farming
From sowing to harvest, the weather is one of the key factors for a successful yield. A hyperlocal agriculture weather forecast is an essential tool for growers who want to ensure healthy and productive crops. Luckily farmers’ weather apps improved considerably in recent years, and a hyperlocal weather app is available free of charge to provide you with live local weather.
Weather conditions affect crops from seed to fruit and should influence the decisions growers make to maximize quality and yield. Irrigation, pest and disease management, and other aspects can be optimized if planned accordingly. Weather conditions can also dictate how and when fieldwork can be done, and it can change (or even prevent) harvesting.
In this article, we will discuss the important weather considerations during the growing season and describe how technological advancements allow farmers to derive weather-wise plans and stay up-to-date with agriculture weather forecasts like never before.
Temperature considerations for planting and harvesting
Plant development is strongly influenced by ambient temperature exposure. Generally speaking, warmer days advance the growth of plants, while cooler days stunt growth. The accumulated degrees above a threshold (the base temperature) are called the growing degree days (GDD). This is used to estimate the growth of certain plants during the growing season. The method is considered a more accurate estimation of plants’ growth stage compared to the plants’ age. Tracking the GDD can help growers decide on the timing for fertilization and harvesting.
On the other hand, in some plants, winter dormancy release depends on having a sufficient number of accumulated chill hours, as in apples or grapes. If the temperature does not drop low enough, the release from dormancy and subsequent plant flowering may become weak and uneven. In the absence of optimal conditions, the grower needs to apply chemicals to “wake” the plants and induce uniform flowering.
When sowing, several questions need to be addressed. Has enough water accumulated in the soil for seeds to sprout and develop? Are the days following the sowing going to have enough sunlight? Is there a danger of frost? Also, in certain crops, the temperature at the time of the harvest is important. For example, the sugar content and composition of wine grapes is more stable at lower temperatures so grapes are often harvested at cooler times of the day.
Accurate long and short-term agriculture weather forecasting is a crucial tool for growers when planting and harvesting timing needs to be planned.
Weather-wise irrigation planning
Once the field is sowed, weather forecasting helps growers optimize growth conditions. Weather forecasting can help plan efficient irrigation schedules that save water and reduce irrigation dependency. Knowledge of hot and dry days can be anticipated to allow adequate irrigation that prevents plant stress. Other factors such as temperature, humidity, sunlight intensity, and wind are important as well, as water loss from the evaporation from plants and soil (known as evapotranspiration) is affected by these factors. The large amount of variables that can change, and the high frequency of their change, make planning efficient irrigation schedules complex. Keeping track of rain and evapotranspiration through technology provides an easy and practical way to develop precise irrigation plans that continuously update as weather conditions change.
Hyperlocal agriculture weather forecast for better pest and disease management
Not only do weather conditions dictate plant behavior and development, but weather conditions also strongly influence the emergence and development of pests and diseases, such as the migration of insects, egg hatching, fungal spore development, sexual maturity, etc.
Combining a weather forecast with the knowledge of the evolution of specific pests or diseases brings a new level of sophistication to pest and disease management. Weather predictions and GDD are used to predict when pest emergence is likely to occur. Growers then know when to look for pests and how to time the application of preventative measures and pesticides optimally. For example, the adult moths of the European Corn Borer typically start to appear and mate around spring, when the weather starts to get warmer. The eggs are laid on the underside of host plants, and within several days, they hatch as larvae and start feeding. By calculating the GDD, a grower can predict moth emergence and apply preventative measures when the pest is most vulnerable (and before damage has been done).
Smart weather-based planning can also prevent wasteful applications of pesticides and fertilizer. A chemical pesticide or fertilizer applied right before rain can be washed away and will have little or no effect. Pesticide applications on windy days are also situations to avoid, as the wind can have an adverse effect on the dispersal of pesticides and even cause damage in nearby fields due to the drift. Spraying should be avoided when wind speed is above 15 km/h.
The temperature should also be taken into consideration when deciding when to spray because of several factors, such as the potential for droplet evaporation, risk of phytotoxicity, and more. In general, spraying pesticides should be avoided if temperatures are above 30 degrees Celsius.
Relative humidity in the air is another important factor influencing droplet evaporation. Spraying should be avoided when humidity is low.
Knowing the right days to apply pesticides and fertilizer may make a difference between healthy and unhealthy fields.
Hyperlocal weather forecast improves farmers’ weather app capabilities
Several methods for weather forecasting are used by growers. These include large, regional weather stations that are based on a great deal of information and provide granular, low-resolution information to on-premise weather stations that are more area precise but are relatively expensive and require installation and maintenance.
Better, faster computers and finer measurement tools have made meteorological modeling precise and weather forecasting more reliable than ever before. Observations such as temperature, humidity, and wind characteristics are gathered from different sources like weather stations, weather radars, and aircraft, which are then fed into computers to produce weather forecast simulations. The more accurate and abundant the input is, the more precise and localized the forecasts are. The increasing power of computers allows for frequent forecast refinement that results in high-resolution predictions in space and time.
Such technological advancements make it possible to provide growers with high-resolution forecasts in an affordable way, even in rural, low-income nations that do not have access to weather measurement devices or affordable local weather stations. These new methods are important because they can predict the microclimate at the level of the field, allowing growers to prepare and plan ahead.
Agrio is a hyperlocal weather app that helps you to plan ahead
Combining weather forecasts and agricultural knowledge can have powerful outcomes. Agrio makes precise, hyperlocal weather forecasts readily available to all growers. Our prediction models combine weather measurements and observations from different sources. These state-of-the-art weather prediction models provide our growers with an hourly hyper-local weather forecast explicitly designated to their unique area anywhere in the world; the forecast is provided at a 3km resolution, so it is specific to their fields and acts as a great farmers’ weather app.
By leveraging technological advancements, we help growers abandon cumbersome excel sheets and instead rely on our algorithms to track them.
Agrio provides live local weather together with several dedicated features that allow growers to:
- Optimize spraying times for safety and efficiency
- Track GDD for pest and disease management optimization
This allows growers to plan an efficient growing season and spraying schedule, save money, and grow stronger and healthier plants. We look forward to seeing you leverage this technology for smart and effective weather interventions in your field.
In the meantime, as always, we wish you an abundant harvest.