7.4 Transitioning Agrometeorological Research to Operations

Thursday, 26 January 2017: 11:15 AM
401 (Washington State Convention Center )
Emily Christ, Climate Forecast Applications Network, Reno, NV; and P. J. Webster and V. Toma

Not surprisingly, weather impacts agricultural operations more than any other variable.  Conditions such as heat waves and drought are a serious problem affecting the farming community, with losses climbing into the billions over recent years.  These occurrences also serve to place high demand on freshwater resources.  Irrigated agriculture accounts for a substantial portion of withdrawals, meaning that even small reductions on a single farm could add up to considerable savings if implemented over a watershed.  Because of issues such as these, farmers have a high level of interest in monitoring forecast information over time scales from short-term to seasonal.  This work will concentrate on the application of short-term weather forecasts to agriculture.  Such forecasts can play a significant role in farm planning, being utilized to support operational decision making on the timing of cultivating, irrigating, spraying, and harvesting. Unfortunately, many forecast products are designed for the general public or aviation industry and do not serve the agricultural market.  Climate Forecast Applications Network (CFAN) has begun developing products designed specifically to address growers’ needs in terms they can directly apply to their enterprises.  Two of these products have been born out of partnerships among Cotton Incorporated, Stripling Irrigation Research Park and several universities.  The first product is made up of calibrated precipitation forecasts that can be used as irrigation scheduling aids.   The second consists of a heat stress warning system designed for cotton.  This presentation will focus on how both products made the transition from research to operations, including a discussion on the valuable cooperation among non-traditional partnerships.
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