What is in this article?:
- New tools help growers adapt to unpredictable weather
- Better grasp of climate trends
• As the drought lingers for Georgia farmers, there are innovative options they can use to plan crop production.
CALVIN PERRY superintendent at the University of Georgia Stripling Irrigation Research Park, gives a presentation on variable-rate irrigation at the Climate Adaptation Exchange event held Feb. 8 in Tifton, Ga.
Better grasp of climate trends
“I think weather is unpredictable,” Vellidis added. “I think we have a better grasp on what long-term climate trends will be. For example, three months ahead or four months ahead, I think we know now, to some level of comfort, we are going to be able to say what’s going to happen. We can say it’s going to be drier than normal, wetter than normal, hotter than normal and so on.
“We can’t predict day to day … but we can understand the trends.”
The trend during the past couple of weeks has been a steady dose of rainfall in parts of the Southeast.
“We’re in a really wet pattern right now,” said Pam Knox, a CAES agricultural climatologist, referencing weather maps at the Climate Adaptation Exchange event. “They still have that area of above-normal rainfall continuing for the next couple of weeks. That’s good if you want the water in the soil but maybe not so good if you’re trying to get out in the fields.
“Just like everything else, it’s a mixed blessing.” However, farmers’ spirits could soon be dampened by the prospect of drier conditions in the upcoming months.
AgroClimate website is one tool in toolbox
AgroClimate, which features seasonal forecasts, predicts a much-drier pattern across the southern part of the country during the upcoming months, through April.
As the drought lingers for Black and his fellow farmers, there are innovative options for producers to use.
Chuck Von Glahn teamed with Vellidis to discuss sensor-based irrigation management. It’s one strategy Von Glahn has worked with while farming in Mitchell County, Ga.
“I would say as a farmer, it is a bit of a challenge with utilizing different resources to try to save here and there,” Von Glahn said.
“With irrigation management, the way we plant, strip-till, that kind of thing, it’s allowed us to venture into different areas to conserve.”
For more information about AgroClimate, view the program’s Website at www.agroclimate.org.