Track Your Farm-Specific Growing-Degree Days

WeatherBug Professional’s online weather service for Prairie farmers has added a new tool allowing farmers to track growing-degree days on a map of their area, using their own wheat -seeding dates. WeatherFarm, the service developed with support from the Canadian Wheat Board, Richardson International, Bayer CropScience and others through a network of 700 Prairie weather stations, rolled out the new feature in late May.

“Farmers can now more easily determine the best time and the best conditions to spray their fields,” CWB agronomist Mike Grenier says. “More effective applications can lead to cost-savings that will have a positive impact on farmers’ bottom lines.”

The board bills WeatherFarm’s growth-stage model as “an improvement over current growing-degree-day tools, which are not customizable by seeding date and region.” Prairie farmers can use the customizable modelling tool to “optimize” their spraying and field-scouting activities, according to the CWB.

The new models “will continue to be enhanced in future releases with the addition of more crops and increased functionality,” the CWB says. WeatherFarm is expected to add more agronomic support tools to help farmers manage pests and disease, and to increase the effectiveness of crop protection and crop management practices.

Upcoming features include enhanced models for wheat midge and fusarium, the CWB notes. Over 6,800 farmers have subscribed to the WeatherFarm online centre since its launch in December last year, the CWB says.

Farmers who want “extremely localized” weather data can buy their own WeatherBug field station and join the network launched in August 2007, now billed as “the largest weather network in Western Canada.”

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