Wishing that you had weather information that is not for the city 30 miles away but for your particular farm? Wishing that the information was presented in a way that highlights the way the forecasted weather would impact your production activities? Wishing that the information would be easy to access via email? If you are interested in these abilities, consider signing up (or encouraging your clients to sign up) for the University of Missouri’s free weather advisory program called Horizon Point.
Horizon Point can deliver site-specific weather information and advisories because when farmers signup, they provide the exact latitude and longitude for which they want to receive a report. By supplying their email address, it gets delivered directly to them free of charge.
Currently Horizon Point contains site specific weather information and weather dependent decision models. The basic weather information contained in a Horizon Point report includes rainfall amounts and probability, minimum and maximum daily temperatures, soil temperatures at various depths, and wind speed and direction forecasts in 3-hour increments.
Horizon Point’s weather advisories cover crop and grain management, pest management and livestock management.
The rainfall needed for runoff advisory automatically enters your soil type and past rainfall events into the NRCS runoff model to estimate of the amount of rain it would take to have a runoff event for various types of ground cover. The in-bin grain drying advisory uses 3-hour increments of forecasted temperature and humidity to estimate the equilibrium moisture content of grain in a bin using natural air drying fans.
Historical and predicted growing degree days are used to estimate weed emergence. The weed emergence alerts are hyperlinked to pictures of the emerging weed to assist users in identifying weeds in their fields as they emerge.
Growing degree day estimates are also used to forecast alfalfa weevil problems. Location specific capture reports provide alerts on the probable presence of black cutworm, European corn borer, Japanese beetle, stickbug, western bean cutworm and true army worms.
For livestock producers the Horizon Point report contains cattle and poultry stress indexes that use temperature, wind speed and humidity to animal comfort (stress) thresholds.
While the basic weather information is on all reports all the time, the other advisories are dependent on the time of the year. For example, the weed emergence alerts will be on the report soon. But when all the weed species have emerged, the report ceases to contain this alert so as not to clutter up the report. In addition, if you don’t want a particular advisory to ever show up on your report you can specify that you don’t get it. For example, if you don’t have poultry, at signup just select not to receive the poultry stress index.
To sign up for the free Horizon Point weather advisory service, go to http://www.agebb.missouri.edu/horizonpoint. You will need to have your email address, latitude and longitude for your farm (links are provided to web pages that can help you find them if you don’t already know them) and predominate soil type for your fields. You also specify your user name and password that allows you to manage such things as when you get the report and what advisories you want to have sent to you.
REVISED: May 4, 2012