The Web site section, launched in January, has been a success with the agricultural community. As growers began using the site, they also offered feedback about future designs including the addition of a growing degree day calculator. TWCi and Monsanto have worked together to create the easiest-to-use online tool available to compute growing degree days (GDD), a measurement that relates to anticipated crop growth by calculating the amount of accumulated heat over a specific period of time. Farmers simply enter location, select a base temperature, and choose start and end dates to get their GDD result.
“The growth and development of crops is directly impacted by the growing degree days, and having this information available can help farmers make better informed management decisions,” said Boyd Carey, lead of technology development for Monsanto. “TWCi has created an easy way for growers to run those calculations to compare different years at a given location. In a spring like this one where we’ve had so much rain and so many cloudy days across our agricultural production areas, this tool could prove useful immediately.”
Farmers can compare two different years’ GDD (as far back as 2003) for the same date range and location. Additionally, each calculation — one of the most complex on weather.com — includes the 30-year-average GDD for the selected dates and location, alerting farmers to the typical GDD for the selected time frame and location.
The Growing Degree Days calculator uses both forecast and 30-year climatology data from The Weather Channel, allowing for past, present or future calculations. The calculator draws from the most accurate weather data available, using proprietary TruPoint technology created by The Weather Channel. TruPoint forecasts allow for future weather information accurate up to 2 kilometers (1.24 miles). This technology combines traditional weather observations with even more data to create forecasts for more than 1.9 million locations — literally filling in the gaps of the reporting systems used by other providers.
“This practical tool for the agricultural community is the result of true collaboration between weather.com and Monsanto,” said Sheila Buckley, vice-president of national sales for TWCi. “Feedback from our Monsanto partnership has enabled us to create the most comprehensive weather resource for farmers available anywhere online.”
The Growing Degree Days calculator is a useful addition to http://www.weather.com/farming, which launched in January 2009 and offers several components to help farmers make crop management decisions, including:
• An in-depth Farmers Forecast that includes the most detailed data on weather conditions affecting crops — precipitation, wind, soil moisture, sunrise and sunset times, and UV index.
• Severe weather alerts to warn farmers with freeze, frost, high wind or hail indicators.
• 36-hour and 10-day forecasts and an almanac to compare typical and historical weather data.
• More than 30 regional and national maps, including drought severity, soil moisture, rainfall estimates, precipitation forecasts, optimal planting schedules and first and last freeze norms.
• An interactive map with customized points of interest and weather layers such as radar, clouds, dew point, wind speed, temperature and past precipitation.
To get the latest farming forecast and agriculture news, please visit www.weather.com/farming.