Save time during the season with a winter weather station checkup

Well-maintained weather stations are the secret to maximizing NEWA as part of a successful crop management strategy. A good maintenance plan provides peace of mind and ensures the best possible information is used to calculate NEWA model results. Checking your machine now means you have time for repairs without the pressure of in-season activities. Read this article to give your unit a complete checkup for the 2020 growing season.

Check Your Surroundings

Barns, windbreaks, equipment and other objects in close physical proximity to your machine can interfere with many sensor measurements, affecting both their precision and accuracy. Shading from a tall tree or building will reduce solar radiation readings, affect ambient temperature, relative humidity, and even windspeed for example. Consider relocating your weather station if you think nearby structures, objects, or permaculture interfere with air flow or sunlight. A minimum distance of 100 ft is a good rule of thumb.

Clean your sensors

  • Anemometer and weather vane. Check that your wind speed and wind direction sensors move freely. If either resists movement or is stuck, consider replacement.
  • Solar radiation. Use a step ladder to closely inspect the sensor. Use a clean damp cloth to remove dirt and debris if necessary. If the protective lens looks opaque, contact your vendor to discuss replacement.
  • Rain gauge. Use a step ladder to closely inspect the rain buck interior. Carefully remove any leaves, spider webs, or other debris commonly found in clogged rain gauge sensors.
  • Temperature/relative humidity. Inspect the solar radiation shield for insect nests or spider webs. These block free airflow to the sensors housed inside. Clear debris with a soft bristle brush if necessary.
  • (Leaf) wetness. Check that the wetness sensor is secured at a 30° angle facing north. Clean debris using a clean damp cloth.
  • Soil sensors. Inspect cords leading from the computer housing to the ground for mechanical or rodent damage. Contact your vendor if parts need replacement.

Look at Your Data

Log into your weather station platform and spend a few minutes looking back at data trends over the past season. Does anything jump out at you or seem unusual? You should be looking at your raw data, either on NEWA or in your vendor’s online platform, to be familiar with how your station data ‘behaves.’ It will be easier to quickly flag issues when they arise in the future.

Know How to Reach Your Vendor

Add your vendor’s support number to Contacts in your phone. If you encounter a problem, don’t put it off. Leave a message with your supplier if their support staff are busy. Rainwise Support is 207.801.4039. Onset Support is 1.800.564.4377.

Don’t wait to get help

Our weather station vendor partners are always ready to help. But if you aren’t sure where to start, want clarification, or think there might be an issue with the NEWA site, you can reach out at any point to the NEWA Help Desk at support@newa.zendesk.com.

FSA emergency assistance available for April 2019 extreme flooding events

Farm operators in NY, MA, PA, and VT who were impacted by April 2019 extreme flooding events are eligible for emergency FSA assistance until September 2020.

USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue recently designated 43 New York Counties as natural disaster areas, along with contiguous counties affected in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Vermont, for two extreme rainfall events that occurred during the 2019 growing season.

Click here to view the official disaster declaration sent to Governor Cuomo from Secretary Purdue

Farm operators in designated primary counties, and contiguous counties, may be eligible for certain Farm Service Agency (FSA) assistance, including emergency loans, but there is an eight-month window in which farm operators can apply.

Secretary Purdue noted that “FSA considers each emergency loan application on its own merits, taking into account the extent of production losses on the farm and the security and repayment ability of the operator.”

Local FSA offices

Contact your local FSA office for more information. Click here for locations.

NEWA in New Hampshire – meet your coordinator

Dr. Cheryl SmithDr. Cheryl Smith joined UNH Extension in 1993. In addition to her role as state Plant Health specialist, she is also director of the UNH Plant Diagnostic Lab. The UNH-PDL offers diagnostic services to help solve plant health-related problems for both commercial producers and home horticulturists. Diagnostic services include the identification of plant pathogens, environmental disorders, and insect pests, as well as educational information regarding management and prevention. Cheryl’s additional responsibilities include delivering outreach educational programs on plant health and providing training in the identification and management of plant diseases and disorders to commercial producers, landscape specialists, Extension staff and home horticulturists. Her current teaching responsibilities focus on Introductory Plant Pathology and guest lectures in several courses offered through the College of Life Sciences and Agriculture. Her focus and passion, is to help producers, landscape specialists and home gardeners produce and maintain healthy plants.

Cheryl received her BA in Biology from Plymouth State College, MS in Plant Pathology and Entomology from the University of Rhode Island, and PhD in Botany and Plant Pathology from the University of New Hampshire. She has been a diagnostic plant pathologist her entire career. Before coming to UNH, she was the diagnostician for the plant diagnostic labs at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY and the University of Rhode Island.

cheryl.smith@unh.edu | 603.862.3841