“This is the future of weather information.”
– Ian Whi Te
Farmers, whose livelihoods depend on the weather, now have free online access to Canada’s largest private weather network, with more than 700 real-time reporting weather stations across the West.
is a collaboration between the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) and WeatherBug, an American-based weather data and forecasting company with more than 8,000 weather stations around the globe.
“This is the future of weather information,” CWB president and CEO Ian Grant told reporters in Winnipeg Dec. 2 at WeatherFarm’s launch. “As we continue to forge partnerships across our sector and beyond, the possibilities become very exciting for everyone who depends on weather data.”
WeatherFarm provides farmers with local weather data, a local weather forecast, access to conditions across the West, animated radar and Doppler maps, historical weather data and weather alerts for such things as a threatening frost or high or low wind speed.
Farmers can also get this information on their BlackBerry or iPhone.
WeatherFarm will provide maps forecasting wheat midge hatching and the risk of sclerotinia and fusarium head blight based on computer models using the weather data collected by the network.
Guy Ash, the CWB’s weather network manager said, this is just the beginning. The goal is to get weather data down to one kilometre grid and have farmers provide seeding dates and crop variety, which then can be used to develop farm-specific pest management information.
WeatherFarm will eventually be used to help farmers determine irrigation schedules and monitor winter wheat for winterkill.
In addition to all that, WeatherFarm will benefit all western Canadians by providing earlier warnings for severe weather. Its new weather stations include the latest cloud-to-cloud lightning detector technology, as well as cloud-to-ground strikes. This information will allow weather forecasters to predict severe weather 20 to 30 minutes sooner than they do now, Ash said.
The network includes Environment Canada weather stations and Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives’ stations will soon be added.
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The website will also provide commodity prices, information from the CWB and agricultural news from (one of Farm Business Communication’s (FBC) websites. FBC owns the Manitoba Co-operator) and which is owned by the Western Producer.