June 22, 2012
Making the Most of Local Weather Intelligence
Up-to-the-minute data from a national network of almost 70 Agrii weather stations linked to sophisticated modelling is giving top and soft fruit, vegetable, salad, herb and arable growers across the country valuable extra intelligence support for day-to-day decision-making.
“Our weather stations use the most modern telemetry to automatically collect and feed a wide range of information to our central Alconbury weather server,” explains manager, Neil Obbard. “This includes rainfall, air temperature, humidity, leaf wetness, wind speed and direction, solar radiation, soil temperature and moisture.
“Our growers and agronomists have immediate web-based access to all this information for their day-to-day management. At the same time, we use it in modern predictive pest and disease models to help them protect their crops in the most cost-effective and environmentally sensitive ways.”
Amongst other services, UK fruit growers are currently taking advantage of Agrii prediction tools for apple scab, powdery mildew and codling moth in apples; botrytis, downy and powdery mildew in grapes; and powdery and downy mildew in hops.
On the vegetable side the support includes specific models for brassica, carrot, bulb and salad onion, leek, lettuce, spinach and asparagus growers. And combinable crop management tools extend to both sclerotinia in oilseed rape and Septoria tritici in wheat.
“We currently run over 500 fruit and vegetable trial plots every year,” says horticulture technical manager, Chris Wallwork. “These and our weather station services provide invaluable field support. But the local knowledge and expertise of our agronomist and growers remains crucial.
“Our trial work, weather data and modelling enable us to quantify and identify potential threats early and alert agronomists and growers to them rapidly,” he points out. “In a fast-moving world – not to mention an increasingly variable climate – the extra intelligence we provide can make all the difference to their decision-making.”