April 8, 2004 | By: Ellen Brightwell
LEXINGTON, Ky.

Kentucky farmers now have greater access to weather information from the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture.  The county-by-county agricultural weather forecast narratives and a new overview of statewide conditions are available from the Agricultural Weather Center Web page at wwwagwx.ca.uky.edu.

 “Obtaining weather data is easier because a new computer program adds up the hours of specific conditions, such as ‘relative humidity above 50 percent,’ and compiles data in a narrative weather forecast specific to each Kentucky county,” said Tom Priddy, agricultural meteorologist. ”Previously farmers had to compile the total number of hours themselves, and did not have the benefit of a narrative forecast.”

Another addition to the AWC site is extended forecast information, Priddy said.

“We have increased county agricultural weather forecasts to days four through seven, where previously data were available only for one to three days,” he said.  “The extended forecasts will give farmers, and others dependent on precise weather information, guidance to make more informed decisions for up to a week or any period between.  Being able to accurately time farm management decisions is especially important this time of year.”

The county-by-county agricultural weather information is updated daily every four hours; the statewide weather overview is updated hourly.  The updates are possible by using faster computers and new weather models from the National Weather Service.

Priddy said college scientists provide information on what impacts weather conditions may have on potential problems, such as plant diseases.

“Collaboration between the NWS and the college gives farmers new guidance to make a multitude of management decisions, ranging from planting to harvesting and everything in between,” he said.

Priddy said county Extension agents across Kentucky will establish educational workshops in the coming months to help residents gain the most guidance from the new weather resource.

“Our goal is to minimize weather-related surprises for all Kentucky residents, specifically as related to their agricultural needs,” he said. “Regardless of the time of day or agricultural operation, the updated, detailed weather forecasts will give farmers and others ‘windows of opportunity’ to accomplish a specific job or series of tasks during the next few days. This will enable Kentuckians to tactically and strategically use weather in their best interests, not as a liability, whenever possible.”

To access the agricultural weather data and forecast narrative from the AWC Web page at wwwagwx.ca.uky.edu, select “Forecast Shortcuts; choose a county name; select “Precision Ag F-Cast “ and then “Precision Ag. Forecast.”

Contact: 

Writer: Ellen Brightwell 859-257-4736 ext. 257
Source: Tom Priddy 859-257-3000, ext. 245