Rain, Risk and Reward

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Use multiple forecasts on different timeframes for strategic planning

A trio of weather tools gave Texas producer Gordie Twerberg the early warning he needed to plant some of his forage crop late this year, taking advantage of wet conditions and resulting soil moisture.

“I still made tonnage,” explains Twerberg, who serves as general manager of Enger Farms LLC in Joshua, Texas. “I still had a crop.” He farms 4,000 leased acres of organic forages in rotation with corn.

Twerberg subscribes to Weather Trends 360 for an 11-month forecast, to AccuWeather for conditions within the next 45 days and to The Weather Channel for seven- to 10-day forecasts.

Experts say an approach such as Twerberg’s is advantageous because it helps producers manage risk.

“There’s a lot of information available, whether it’s [from the] government or the university community and even into the private sector,” says Leon Osborne, Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science at the University of North Dakota. “Our ability to look further into the future is getting better.”

Summer Outlook. Farmers saw unprecedented rainfall in much of the Corn Belt this spring. Data show May was the wettest in U.S. history for the lower 48 states.

The month of June saw many rivers rise to levels seen during the devastating 1993 floods, notes Allen Motew, director, QT Weather.

“We’re watching the long-range models,” Motew says. “They have provided us with excellent information, and they still are trending wet for the remainder of the summer and even into fall.”

The challenge will be getting enough growing degree days (GDDs) to finish out the corn and soybean crops. Saturated soil will keep daytime temperatures in check, staving off what would have been a record hot summer, Osborne says.

Farther out, producers seeking to mitigate risk in the long-term should extend…

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Haam is the Managing Director of Rhamz International a Company that Publishes The Agribusiness Magazine. The Magazine is both print and can be accessed on-line on this website. The magazine is also available on mobile devices for Android and IOS Apple phones

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