Photo: Pessl Instruments
Photo: Pessl Instruments

Site-specific weather forecast and work planning tools

Instruments GmbH
28-12-2021 | |
Photo: Pessl Instruments
Photo: Pessl Instruments

The importance of weather forecast and work planning tools in agriculture is not something that’s new, but it’s something that many farmers take as beneficial.

It’s always been the holy grail in agriculture to have an accurate, site-specific weather forecast and work planning tools for numerous on-farm applications. Weather IoT devices in the field provide data to calibrate the forecast based on actual field conditions and learn the climate at the field location over a period of time (AI system approach).

This is further enhanced by a multi-forecast model approach which is checked and updated hourly and reduces forecast bias. By using these techniques, a detailed hourly field level forecast for several variables is accessible. For example, temperature, wind speed/direction and gusts, precipitation amounts and probabilities, dew point, relative humidity, leaf wetness, ETo, cloud cover, and solar radiation.

The detailed data is then integrated into work planning tools for: plant nutrition, field accessibility, tillage ability, sowing window, plant protection (spraying), and a harvest window.

Benefits of a multi-forecast model

There are several benefits to using site-specific weather stations, weather forecast and work planning tools:

  • Know your fields’ forecasted weather, by the hour, updated hourly.
  • Track the probability of precipitation, amounts and types, wind speed/gust and direction, temperatures and dew points and several other variables.
  • Know when to spray based on forecasted precip amounts and timing, wind speed and direction and potential wash off periods, or add fertiliser based on additional root zone soil moisture.

Financial benefits

  • The impact of weather risk on any agriculture system is substantial. Extreme weather events can reduce crop yields by as much as 50% from average yields during normal growing conditions. Weather represents roughly 70% of the uncontrollable risks a farmer faces during the year.
  • The ability to know future seeding dates and conditions based on soil temperature/moisture and forecasted precipitation events is crucial. Proper seeding temperature for emergence and germination is critical for good stand development.
  • Field workability in terms of access and tillage are governed by forecasted precipitation probabilities and amounts, and what the historical precipitation has been.
  • Soil fertility and when to apply is determined by soil temperature/moisture and probability of precipitation and amounts. It’s well understood that each additional 25 mm of soil moisture equates to so many kilograms of yield for any crop. Not knowing your root zone soil moisture can result in lost yields.

What does all this mean? Pest and disease control or spraying is highly dependent on real-time and forecasted weather conditions. Knowing the ‘windows’ of when to spray based on winds, temperature, humidity, delta T and precipitation are critical for product efficacy. This can make a significant difference in yield.

Voice of a grower

“We spent about CAD$ 4,000 on our iMetos IoT weather solution and site-specific forecasting, and earned money through better timing of seeding operations, workforce planning, an enhanced understanding of soil nutrients via root zone soil moisture, and when the conditions to spray for pest and disease control and efficacy are best. Also, the impact of highly variable weather conditions (climate change) is forcing us to be more proactive on our management plan. Our return on investment is always higher than 10:1 based on the many tools available.”

Instruments GmbH
Pessl Instruments GmbH

Since 1984, Pessl Instruments offers a wide range of wireless, solar-powered monitoring systems under METOS brand, and an app FieldClimate that shows the data. Connected with plant disease modelling and weather forecast, all METOS solutions act as a decision support system for all important day-to-day activities: when to seed, irrigate, fertilize, apply pesticides, harvest, and more. Products are applicable in Agriculture, Animal Welfare, Research, Hydrology, Meteorology, Landscaping, Flood Warning, … in all climate zones.

Instruments GmbH
Pessl Instruments GmbH

Since 1984, Pessl Instruments offers a wide range of wireless, solar-powered monitoring systems under METOS brand, and an app FieldClimate that shows the data. Connected with plant disease modelling and weather forecast, all METOS solutions act as a decision support system for all important day-to-day activities: when to seed, irrigate, fertilize, apply pesticides, harvest, and more. Products are applicable in Agriculture, Animal Welfare, Research, Hydrology, Meteorology, Landscaping, Flood Warning, … in all climate zones.

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