August 15, 2001 | By: Aimee D. Heald
LEXINGTON, KY.

Military commanders have long known the value of using weather information to make major decisions in battle. They realize the importance of getting adequate information to make better management decisions. What if weather information related to agricultural production and gardening was available that would allow producers tactically and strategically to “own the weather?”

New University of Kentucky Agricultural Weather Center products are a step closer to helping users make management decisions based on the weather weekly, daily, even hourly.

“Consider this forecast – partly sunny with a chance of showers and thunderstorms, highs in the low to mid 90s,” said Tom Priddy, UK agricultural meteorologist. “Assuming the forecast is accurate, does it answer key questions for farmers and gardeners?”

Priddy said the simple forecast probably doesn’t answer questions such as how many hours of heat stress are expected, will spraying conditions be favorable today, will dew form tonight, what time with the dew dry off in a certain area of the state, how much rain is expected, will tomorrow have better temperature and humidity conditions to vent grain in storage, or will conditions be favorable for tobacco handling/bulking tonight?

Those are just a few of the questions important to producers and gardeners. More often than not, answers to those questions and others are hard to find.

“In fact, specific guidance to many production related weather questions is nearly impossible to find in Kentucky or the Midwest.”

The UK Ag Weather Center constantly is striving to find ways to help Kentucky’s producers, gardeners and others who rely on current weather information to carry out everyday duties. That’s why they have developed new guidance to help answer the above mentioned questions.

“Based on existing and new National Weather Service models, called Nested-Grid Model and Medium-Range Forecast Model-Extended, agricultural/lawn and garden forecast guidance is available out to 8 days, hour-by-hour, for the next 60 hours,” Priddy said. “The short-term guidance for the next 60 hours is available for 10 regions of the state and is updated twice daily at 11 a.m. and 11 p.m. EDT.

The medium-range information is updated once a day by 8 a.m., seven days a week. Priddy said two additional weather models currently are under development and will be ready soon.

“The ag weather center will use the information from these new products to update and improve the Kentucky Agricultural Weather Outlook,” he said. “Check out the new products on the web site and let us know what additional agricultural, lawn and garden weather-related information you’d like to see available.”

The web site address is http://wwwagwx.ca.uky.edu. All Ohio Valley and Midwest states are available athttp://wwwagwx.ca.uky.edu/Ag_Guidance.html.

Contact: 

Tom Priddy 859-257-3000, ext. 245