Monthly Archives: February 2017

Farm adaptation: predicting the unpredictable

In 2013, USDA ARS reported that climate change and extreme weather will have significant long lasting effects on all aspects of agricultural production in the United States. You’ve likely already experienced the sour taste of what is now becoming the norm.  Extreme weather, unpredictable rainfall, higher temperatures and other factors that keep you awake at night will be a regular part of the dialogue when it comes to farm management planning in the short and long term.

There is a growing consensus, however, that the way you approach these challenges will make all the difference.  Reacting to each situation is not likely to provide long-term stability for your farm.  In contrast, a proactive approach that anticipates climate and weather variability, informed by personal knowledge of local short-term climate patterns, is more likely to result in future scenarios that have positive and productive outcomes for you. This is also why NEWA is becoming an increasingly important resource – it provides real-time short term forecasting tools needed to make well informed decisions.

Here are some important weather and climate facts that NEWA helps address.

  1. Globally, average temperature will rise by 0.18°F (0.1°C) per decade during our lifetime. This doesn’t seem like much right? But remember this is an average. The way this really looks on your farm is bigger and more extreme temperatures in both directions throughout the year and more extreme weather.
  2. Even predictable increases in temperature over time can have disproportionately negative impacts on current agricultural practices if adaptive plans are not made. If you do not have a plan to be flexible in adverse growing conditions, the long-term outlook is less certain.
  3. On the positive side, climate change will create opportunities for innovation and investment in agriculture. A grower who is aware and has a plan for adaptability in place, becoming an early adopter of new approaches and technology as part of that plan, will be well-positioned to take advantage of these opportunities.

Read part 2 and part 3 of this series.

LERGP Podcast for Grape Growers

Statewide grape IPM specialist Tim Weigle and Viticulture Extension Specialist Luke Haggerty just posted a great podcast discussing the usefulness of grape tools available through NEWA. Produced by the Lake Erie Regional Grape Program, this podcast packs a lot of great information into a quick 6 minute segment, covering insect and disease models useful for grape growers throughout the region. Tim and Luke discuss the use of NEWA to forecast grape diseases including black rot, downy mildew, powdery mildew and phomopsis cane and leaf spot. They also discuss the impact of grape berry moth on grape growers and ways in which NEWA’s forecasting model helps growers stay ahead of this pest.

Weigle’s and Haggerty’s NEWA podcast is the latest in a series produced by LERGP. Each segment provides a short commentary and discussion about topics related to grape production in the Lake Erie region or LERGP. For more information about these podcasts, visit


NEWA turns 500!

Wow! There are now 531 weather stations connected into NEWA. Just a short time ago, I was planning a post to tell you NEWA had turned 400. How is this phenomenal growth possible? It was made possible by each, and every, one of you! And…also, by Michigan State University and The Ohio State University joining NEWA.

Please join me in welcoming Ohio and Michigan to NEWA. In Ohio, Matt Wallhead, postdoctoral research associate with the USDA ARS, and Melanie Ivey, fruit pathologist with The OSU, paved the way for the NEWA OH partnership. We soon hope to stream data from all their research stations through NEWA.

A resounding welcome goes out to Michigan! Michigan State University has Enviro-weather, a system similar in many ways to NEWA! Please visit Enviro-weather,, and test drive their tools. Jeff Andresen, Michigan state climatologist and director of Enviro-weather, and Beth Bishop, Enviro-weather coordinator, have made this collaboration possible, with the support of their apple industry.

We are very much looking forward to building our collaboration for a bright future full of digital agriculture apps to help producers practice IPM and grow healthy and healthful crops.

This post was contributed by Juliet Carroll, Fruit IPM Coordinator, New York State IPM Program, Cornell University,