; Empowering farmers with weather data to make optimum frost management decisions | Conferences | AgRisk Library


Conference Name Empowering farmers with weather data to make optimum frost management decisions

Mark Battany


Cold temperature injury is the most damaging weather phenomenon for crop plants, particularly for high-value cold-sensitive crops such as wine grapes. Farmers can choose from several strategies to prevent cold injury and are increasingly looking at wind machines for this purpose because this represents a water savings compared to the other primary alternative of using sprinkler frost protection. However, in order for wind machines to provide a warming effect, the temperature conditions during cold events must have a temperature inversion, i.e. the air temperature increases with height above the ground. This project is making this critical data on temperature inversion conditions available to farmers by posting live measurements on a public website from a network of 20 local weather stations. By using this information farmers can themselves identify whether or not our local weather conditions are amenable to making increased investments in wind machines for protection of their high-value crops. This weather data extension tool is the evolution of what began as an applied research effort a decade ago taking similar temperature measurements to generate our initial understanding of these conditions locally. That initial effort led to the development of practical tools which farmers could use themselves on their own properties, and now finally the project has evolved to providing real-time information for the entire region. The ultimate benefit of this effort will be that farmers will have access to data which will allow them to make the most informed decisions possible regarding an investment in wind machines.