Tell State Climatologists What Weather Info You Need

Tell State Climatologists What Weather Info You Need March 21, 2016

Graph of freeze-free historical trend for ScottsbluffGraph of freeze-free historical trend for Auburn
Figure 1.The historical trend of freeze-free dates shown in these graphs indicates the number of consecutive days each year with minimum temperatures above 32 degrees F for Scottsbluff and Auburn. The total change over time can be quite different from one end of the state to the other with Scottsbluff's freeze-free season increasing by 19.3 days over the last century while Auburn's freeze-free season has decreased by 3.4 days. The linear trend line is indicated in black. The Nebraska State Climate Office plans to update and add to these records in a searchable online tool.

Short-term weather and longer term climate data are an integral part of agricultural production in Nebraska, for both crop and livestock producers.

2015 Cattle Comfort map
Figure 2. Example of the Cattle Comfort Forecast for June 17, 2015, as released on June 16. The next day forecast allowed livestock producers an opportunity to take measures to protect their animals.

Soil temperatures can guide planting and fertilizer applications and precipitation and crop water use data can guide irrigation applications for optimal “crop for drop.”  Another tool alerts livestock producers to when critical conditions might endanger animal health. Tools can also estimate plant growth stage and the likelihood plants will reach maturity before the first historical fall freeze for a given area.  They can estimate temperature-based insect development (see common stalk borer forecast) and predict scouting and treatment windows or forecast periods conducive to increased outbreaks of plant disease.

These are a few examples of the weather and climate data currently being used by Nebraska agricultural producers. Now the newly created Nebraska State Climate Office wants to know what other weather/climate tools you could use to better manage your crop and livestock operations.  They are prioritizing projects and seeking your input through a short online survey that will be open until March 31.

For a sampling of Nebraska weather tools, visit the CropWatch Weather page.