Combine NOAA weather data with user configurations to provide commercial strawberry farmers with a streamlined view of current and future risk to support their decision making process.
As US and global demand for strawberries continues to grow, commercial strawberry cultivation outside typical farming regions is fraught with challenges, which farmers must overcome to succeed in colder and more variable climates. The demo centers on a 100x100 km farm in Martinsburg, WV. To mitigate the risk of potential adverse conditions, farmers most often rely on row covers and overhead irrigation to protect the strawberry crops from the elements.
Prolonged winters and late frosts
How to optimize resources due to row cover employment / redeployment
Pre-empting spring challenges, such as pestilence and disease
Maximizing and tracking “chill hours”
Agriculture Decision Support Tool Model
The demo integrates Rapid Refresh (RAP) coupled with High Resolution Rapid Refresh (HRRR), Next Generation Radar (NEXRAD) data into the Agriculture Decision Support Tool (ADST) dashboard to provide near real-time data on current environmental conditions and probable weather forecasts. The demo also requires inputs from the Global Ensemble Forecast System (GEFS). See diagram below
While ingesting data from the above sources, the ADST reacts to various decision points during the three phases of strawberry production when weather plays an important role:
Crop Dormancy / Flowering
Fruit Development / Harvest
The power of the NOAA data (RAP and HRRR) lies in its ability to forecast over 600 weather-related variables that are then synthesized to provide real-time alerts and propose viable recommendations to farmers.
The Value of NOAA Big Data
Integrating NOAA data with the Agriculture Decision Support Tool provides farmers with real-time insights into decisions they face every day. As an example, consider the scenario below.
This Low Temperature scenario is designed to prevent frost damage to crops in the event of freezing temperatures. Once variables are calculated, the forecasting tool determine whether the temperature is expected to drop to or below 34° F — a dangerous temperature for strawberry production. The ADST will work through various decisions (please see the diagram below) to arrive at a solution that provides adequate frost protection until the temperature returns to above freezing (e.g. utilize row covers, etc.).