Weather has always been an important factor in agriculture, but it’s the ability to predict upcoming weather that attracts those in the ag industry. Predicting the weather is one reason why farmers and ranchers are full of adages, rhymes, harbingers, and clues about what the weather is about to bring. For instance, “Clear moon, frost soon,” is one proverb that would compel farmers to hurry up and finish the harvest of cold-tender crops, keeping the harvest from ruin. In a similar way, any farmer or rancher will tell you that a herd of cows lying down foretells a coming storm, and you’d then know it’s a poor time to cut hay!
Weather forecasting is as important as ever, according to a press release by The University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS). Researchers in Australia have used a more modern approach to weather predictions with the 10-day forecast, and they’ve found that wheat farmers adhering to a 10-day forecast could have financial implications totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars. Basically, researchers looked at 10-day forecasts for 25 years in an arid section of Western Australia where rainfall amounts vary greatly. They then used computer models and simulated “perfect” forecasts to compare harvests of hypothetical farmers— some who sowed based on the 10-day weather data and those who did not. They found that those farmers who utilized the data— based on computer-generated grain yields— would have had significantly bigger harvests.
There are many areas of the U.S. where rainfall is akin to that in the Australia study: it’s fickle and oh-so important for the ag producers operating in the area. Researchers at UF/IFAS are considering conducting a similar study on American soil utilizing U.S. forecasts in real time, i.e. imperfect forecasts, to compare the differences in yields. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) concluded in one study that 10-day forecasts are 40% accurate between the 6 and 10-day marks; additionally, next-day and 5-day forecasts have proven to be even more accurate. If perfect forecasts can adjust crop yields by hundreds of thousands of dollars, imperfect forecasts could also offer significant impacts.
AgAmerica Lending also knows a thing or two about saving hundreds of thousands of dollars in both sunny and rainy weather. From land refinance to farm ag loans we’ve helped the country’s ag producers weather storms with our low interest rates, long amortizations, and outstanding 10-year line of credit.