A Farm-based Weather Data Collection and Display System in Support of Freeze Protection of Florida Crops

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Monday, 3 February 2014
Hall C3 (The Georgia World Congress Center )
William R. Lusher, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL; and K. T. Morgan, J. Fan, and B. Ferraro

Weather-related information is essential to Florida's agricultural producers for making important decisions regarding the use water for irrigation scheduling and cold protection. Since the mid 1990's, The Florida Automated Weather Network (FAWN), a program of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS), has developed a variety of weather-related tools that can aid them in making irrigation and cold protection decisions. Growers rely primarily on FAWN weather data and tools to plan for irrigation and freeze protection, and FAWN has been proven very useful in helping growers save both water and dollars. However, some farms can be many miles from a FAWN site. Therefore, FAWN may not provide the level of specificity needed to ensure growers are operating their irrigation systems during optimal times. For this reason, FAWN worked with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) Office of Agricultural Water Policy (AWP) to deploy a high-resolution farm based basic weather station network that would provide growers with site-specific weather data that can be used to maximize water use for irrigation and cold protection.