The MetWatch Weather & Disease Portal has recently been upgraded with two new tools to help growers decide on the best times to irrigate, plant crops, and more.
The spring additions, named the Soil Temperature Tool and Evapotranspiration Tool were added by HortPlus last week and can be viewed on the portal under the Weather and Irrigation dropdown menus.
HortPlus director Mike Barley said the tools would add to growers’ toolkits at a critical time of the year, as New Zealand closes in on summer and the El Niño weather system begins to take effect.
This tool provides local soil temperature information to help growers make more informed decisions around when to plant crops, expected nutrient uptake and disease susceptibility.
The data presented within the tool comes from soil temperature readings taken by HortPlus’ nationwide network of weather stations, many of which include ground sensors that send data back to the Weather & Disease Portal every hour.
Growers can view soil temperature data from their nearest weather station by selecting it from a dropdown list.
“This new tool was developed following feedback from users that soil temperature data wasn’t as user friendly as it could be. We’re pleased to have been able to quickly respond and make this information available via an easy-to-use dashboard,” Barley said.
Soil Temperature Tool.
This resource helps growers and farmers track the impacts of transpiration on their crops and evaporation and rainfall on their land to help with decisions around when to irrigate.
It takes account of factors including rainfall, wind, humidity, temperature, sunlight and the type of crop being grown. By modelling evapotranspiration with data from weather stations across New Zealand, the tool can generate localised historic and forecast evapotranspiration information to provide insights for growers.
“This is a great education resource but it will also be useful for those who are working out in the field, whether they are an orchardist trying to work out the transpiration rate for their fruit trees or a farmer making decisions on when to irrigate their pasture,” Barley said.