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SPRAYcast Manitoba Is On The Web, Ready To Use

SPRAYcast Manitoba Location: 49.36Nm -98.24W Boom Height: 1.2 metres (4 feet)

This is an advisory based on the available weather forecast. Operators must always conform to both label and actual conditions in the field at time

of application. Do not use the advisory to spray under conditions that are prohibited by local, provincial or federal regulations.

SPRAYcast Manitoba, a free new tool to help farmers decide on the best time to apply pesticides, is on the web now at http://www.weatherinnovations.com/mb/Farmers

plug in their

location, then select their spray boom height (two or four feet) and SPRAYcast Manitoba provides an hourly, three day forecast with five possible ratings – no spray – winds too low, poor, fair, good and no spray – winds too high – for three types of spray: fine, medium and coarse. (see web shot)

SPRAYcast Manitoba also includes hourly wind speed, wind direction, precipitation and temperature forecasts.

SPRAYcast Manitoba, which is collaboration between Manitoba Agr icul ture, Food and Rural Initiatives (MAFRI) and Chatham, Ont.-based Weather INnovations Incorporated (WIN), is sponsored by Bayer CropScience.

ASSESS FUSARIUM RISK

WIN has also developed a web-based program called DONcast to help farmers assess the risk fusarium head blight poses to their wheat and whether they should spray a fungicide to protect it.

MAFRI is considering offering DONcast next year depending on how tests go this year.

To use DONcast farmers plug in their field locations and the day they expect their wheat to flower, which is defined as when three-quarters of wheat heads have fully emerged from the sheath, Ian Nichols, WIN’s business manager, told Winter Cereals Manitoba’s annual meeting in Winkler March 10.

To start, that date will just be a guess, so farmers need to revise it. The program matches the weather forecast for that field with the flowering time and considers other factors such as crop rotation and variety and then predicts the level of DON. If farmers don’t trust the weather forecast they can enter their own weather possibilities.

“You can get a comfort level as you keep changing the scenarios,” Nichols said.

“We feel it really helps producers, crop consultants and suppliers to make very targeted decisions and not general comments about the DON predictions,” he said.

SITE SPECIFIC

Using a site-specific risk calculator is more accurate than producing a risk map, he added.

“That being said, guess what? It’s more work,” Nichols said. “If you’re going to run it for you farm you’ve got to enter some data into the calculator… “

The key to DONcast is having accurate and comprehensive weather data. MAFRI has 35 weather stations in its network, plus access to data from 25 of Environment Canada’s stations.

“In my view weather stations are a necessary evil,” Nichols said.

WIN’s weather-based forecast programs started as a research project at the University of Guelph’s Ridgetown Campus in 2000 and were spun off into a private company in 2006, Nichols said.

There was a concern farmers might routinely spray their crops to protect them, Nichols said. Being able to assess the risk could reduce pesticide applications. That will save farmers money and also prolong the effectiveness of the pesticides, Nichols said.

WIN also offers programs for sugar beets, tomatoes, corn, apples, tender fruits, strawberr ies, irr igators and grapes, including telling vintners when they can harvest frozen grapes for ice wine.

DONcast is available in Europe and this year WIN has a program for tomatoes in Portugal and grapes in Spain.

[email protected]ng.com

About the author

Reporter

Allan Dawson

Allan Dawson is a reporter with the Manitoba Co-operator based near Miami, Man. Covering agriculture since 1980, Dawson has spent most of his career with the Co-operator except for several years with Farmers’ Independent Weekly and before that a Morden-Winkler area radio station.

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