All weather is local, quips John Ciempa, product marketing manager with The Weather Company. As the cost of sensor technology continues to decline, even as the technology itself continues to improve, Ciempa says that more than ever, weather sensors can deliver valuable on-farm insights.
“In-field weather sensors detect and record vital weather information such as wind speed, humidity, rainfall and temperature, he writes in The Weather Company’s blog. “Implementing these proprietary sensors at strategic locations allows for greater visibility into the specific weather conditions impacting the land.”
Compare that with publically available data collection sources. Ciempa says depending on where you live, the nearest station could be 50 or even 100 miles away.
“While this is an important reference point and should be used to understand climate variability and major climate modes, weather can greatly vary within a given area,” he notes. “One end of a 10,000 acre farm may be getting decent rainfall, while the other end could be dry. This type of data is relevant and actionable.”
In particular, Ciempa notes three ways farmers could benefit from using weather sensors on their operation.
1. Crop yield increases. “Proper attention helps crops thrive,” Ciempa says. Weather sensors provide helpful insights throughout the season and can help farmers pinpoint when to plant, when to irrigate and when to pull the trigger on any other number of in-season decisions.
2. Harvest timing. “Hyperlocal current weather trend data and seasonal and sub-seasonal forecasts offer insight into a crop’s harvest readiness and allows for more efficient deployment of equipment assets and personnel,” Ciempa says.
3. Transportation planning. Especially for farming operations that have a lot of logistical pieces to the puzzle, having accurate local weather data can help streamline transportation needs, according to Ciempa.