Weather as we know is the atmospheric condition at a certain time which is expressed in the most significant weather variables. The weather forecast, by definition, is estimating future weather conditions scientifically, which is a very essential aspect of agriculture. It is more than just scientific knowledge. Having adequate knowledge about weather conditions of a specific location in advance can protect crops, and agricultural property, and save lives in extreme situations.
This encourages farmers to use weather forecasts to suit their particular needs such as increasing profits, minimizing losses, and increasing net farm income. Weather data helps farmers make crucial decisions like when to plant, spray, irrigate, and harvest.
The practice of weather forecasting has been prevalent for ages. The Babylonians used to predict the weather from cloud patterns and astrology in 650 BC. Aristotle’s Meteorologica described weather patterns in 350 BC but later, Theophrastus wrote a book on weather forecasting named ‘the Book of Signs’. Most of the weather forecasting methods in the earlier times depended on pattern recognition; but, not all of these predictions were reliable.
The invention of the electric telegraph in 1835 modernised weather forecasting that reported weather conditions from a wide area instantly. Francis Beaufort, an officer of the Royal Navy and his protégé Robert FitzRoy were considered to be the pioneers of weather forecasting, whose methods are the base of modern-day weather forecasting. Francis Beaufort invented the Wind Force Scale and Weather Notation Coding. In 1854, Robert FitzRoy was appointed as the chief a new department that dealt with collecting weather information at sea that helped mariners before the establishment of the modern-day Meteorological Office. The modernisation of atmospheric physics in the 20th century lead to the laying of the foundation of numerical weather prediction which was published by an English scientist Lewis Fry Richardson in 1922 under the name ‘Weather Prediction by Numerical Process’. The equations of fluid dynamics and thermodynamics were used as the basic idea of numerical weather prediction.
In this blog, we have listed the factors that make weather forecasting so important in agriculture.
Role of Weather Forecasting in Agriculture
We are aware that seasons have an important role to play in agriculture and farming. Temperature variations impact plants and pests severely.
- Through weather forecasting, farmers can predict the right time to apply fertilisers, the type of fertilisers, and the application rate. Applying fertilisers at the wrong time impacts crop growth negatively. Working on a farm depends on the temperature and soil moisture. Your field needs to be dry so that the fertilisers do not get washed away and are moist enough for them to penetrate the soil. Weather data helps farmers determine the time they should put more effort into their day-to-day operations.
- Pest control and other crop diseases can be monitored with the weather forecasts. Crop-destroying pests can be influenced by weather factors. These information help determine the time when pesticides should be used.
- Depending on weather forecasting, farmers can decide how to utilise renewable energy that will benefit the farm. Farmers can also decide the amount of solar, wind, and anaerobic energy for the farm. This information will benefit farmers to harness solar and wind power by building solar panels and wind turbines to capture it. Harvesting and storing this energy will help farmers to put it to good use.
- Field workability is the number of days that are ideal for fieldwork. For effective fieldwork, soil moisture and temperature are the most essential factors. Having access to accurate field-level meteorological data helps farmers determine the workability of the fields which in turn makes daily activities more efficient.
- Irrigation as we know is the right application of water to land by artificial means. It enhances agricultural production and farming. Irrigation and agricultural growth is driven by weather; hence, the weather forecast has a vital role to play in irrigation. There are two essential weather-related criteria including the amount of time and evapotranspiration. Another factor that influences farming practices is climate change. At the same time, drought or a long period of dry weather conditions is significantly impactful on the irrigation system.
Weather Forecasting: Benefiting the Australian Agricultural Sector
Australia’s seasonal climate forecasts (SCFs) help farmers make farm-related decisions adhering to possible climatic conditions. These forecasts allow farmers to choose the type of crop, varieties, stock rates, and nutrient data that are perfect for the expected seasonal climatic conditions. Seasonal climate forecasts (SCFs) also provide farmers with economic value by providing them with better certainty about the current state of nature during decision-making.
In the agricultural sector, weather forecasting is more than just predicting rainfall or delay in rain. It helps farmers plan the planting, harvesting, and crop-cutting seasons.
To get a deeper insight into weather forecasting, especially in the Australian agricultural sector, browse through the KG2 Australia website. We have Australia’s largest independent farmer database that would help you determine the right way to move ahead with your farming business. For a detailed walk-through, get in touch with us today!