Horticulture - Weather and Climate

With weather patterns shifting and increasingly variable conditions to contend with on-farm, it is now more important than ever to have accurate weather and climate information to support on-farm decisions.

There have been significant advances in digital technology that provide tools and support that can monitor, analyse and predict conditions right down to the crop row with on farm weather stations, rather than relying on commercial weather stations that can be located some distance away.

 There are a wide range of data producing products on the market, such as weather stations and soil moisture probes, and satellite and drone imagery.

These technologies can measure metrics such as:

  • temperature

  • sunlight

  • wind speeds

  • humidity

  • soil moisture

  • plant biomass.

More predictive solutions are also emerging that use machine learning and data modelling to help growers plan their operations and predict growth curves and harvest dates.

Data from weather station forecasts can rarely provide the specificity farmers require, as stations may be located some distance from your property and may not take into account localised variations in soil moisture, frost and rainfall impacted by the topography of your property.

The benefits of using digital technology for weather and climate management  means farmers can monitor, analyse and predict conditions with ever-increasing precision. Using existing and emerging technologies, growers are able to:

  • Collect more precise, real-time information about crop and soil moisture conditions.

  • Determine when to plant, prune, spray, irrigate and harvest

  • Identify in-field variability by mapping crop and soil sensor data

  • Improve understanding of the whole farm system using weather, soil, and crop sensor data

  • Plan ahead and reduce risk. For example, using wind speed and direction, and rainfall forecasts when planning spraying operations to limit spray drift and reduce the risk of runoff, or anticipate and mitigate the impact of frost

  • Determine the best times to irrigate using soil moisture probes

  • Detect weather conditions that promote pests and diseases in advance

  • Utilise your data for improved input efficiency and farm planning

From soil moisture probes to satellite and drone imagery, farmers are using these tools to inform day-to-day decisions such as when to plant, spray, irrigate and harvest.

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