The Flint River Partnership is using IBM’s Deep Thunder precision weather forecasting service to refine farmers’ already successful irrigation models and water conservation practices. The added weather information will help farmers conserve more water and improve crop yields.

Because the forecasts will be available on mobile devices, farmers will have 24-hour access to critical weather information in conjunction with other relevant field data. The partnership also is offering farmers the use of IBM Softlayer to manage their field and weather data and automate irrigation recommendations.

The integration of complex data streams generated by GPS-enabled farm equipment and in-field sensors with IBM’s Deep Thunder weather forecasting technology delivered to mobile devices will provide 72-hours advance notice of weather in the Flint region, allowing farmers to be more prepared to make decisions on when to irrigate, plant, fertilize and deploy labor resources.

“Farming operations are highly sensitive to weather. In the U.S., that sensitivity is about $15 billion per year,” said Lloyd Treinish, distinguished engineer and chief scientist of IBM Research. “For example, the USDA estimates that 90 percent of crop losses are due to weather. In addition, improving efficiency in irrigation will reduce the impact in areas with limited water supplies. By better understanding and then predicting these weather effects, we can help mitigate these impacts.

Find out more about this water conservation project in Georgia.