129 Climate Data Integration for Agricultural Decision Support

Monday, 7 January 2019
Hall 4 (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Kelley DePolt, North Carolina State Univ., Raleigh, NC; and R. V. Ward

Tobacco thrips (Frankliniella fusca), an important vector of Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus (TSWV), feed on crops resulting in stunted growth and delayed maturity along with possible transmission of the virus. These impacts lead to measurable losses that vary depending on time and location, and precautions must be taken before the spread occurs. Both tobacco and cotton crops are susceptible to risk posed by tobacco thrips soon after transplanting. Researchers at North Carolina State University developed weather-driven models to predict susceptibility of tobacco and cotton, based on the coincidence of plant vulnerability and tobacco thrips incidence. Two decision-support tools have been developed through a partnership with the State Climate Office of North Carolina to provide scientifically-based guidance for management actions to be implemented by tobacco and cotton growers. The Thrips Infestation Predictor for Cotton along with the Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus (TSWV) and Thrips Risk Forecasting Tool, utilize gridded climate datasets, such as Parameter-Elevation Regressions on Independent Slopes Model (PRISM) climate data, Real-Time Mesoscale MesoScale Analysis (RTMA) products, and National Digital Forecast Database (NDFD) forecast data. Time series of gridded data are obtained based on user-entered location and field conditions, then input into empirical models developed by collaborating researchers within the NCSU Entomology Department. Outputs include predictions for relative thrips flights and TSWV incidence. Users are presented with information contextualized to their locations and historical experiences. A combination of text and interactive graphical model output is displayed to users in a mobile-friendly web interface. These tools, developed through an ongoing, interdisciplinary collaboration, have received widespread praise and have been used by growers and extension agents across North Carolina and the southeastern US during recent planting seasons.
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