Cotton Field Weather Network - a new tool for growers

19 November, 2017

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As many growers and consultants would be aware, Cotton Seed Distributors (CSD) has a number of weather stations with soil temperature sensors placed across many regions of the cotton industry, which form the FastStart™ Soil Temperature Network, jointly funded by Syngenta as part of the FastStart R&D fund. These sensors are a real time measure of the soil temperature at 10cm and can be used as a guide to whether conditions are suitable for planting cotton.

Using the data obtained from these weather stations (supplied in partnership with OzForecast), CSD has recently added a new function to the Cotton Field Weather Network, available on the CSD website.

In 15 minute intervals, the Cotton Field Weather Network (www.csd.net.au/cfws) provides updates on current conditions including temperature, wind, rain, dew point and relative humidity for each weather station site. Current data is presented in a summary table (see example in image 1), and via clickable tabs which present the last eight days of data graphically (see example in image 2).

A new and particularly valuable function is the ability to download each data set into a spreadsheet, at the click of a button, enabling growers and consultants to tabulate, graph or analyse the data accordingly. As the data set builds over the course of the season, this becomes a powerful resource as in addition to the seasonal conditions recorded in the summary table, the day degree accumulation is also recorded daily, and can be used to calculate anticipated development stages of the crop by date.
Cold shocks (<12°C) and hot shocks (>36°C) are also recorded daily, and available via downloading the data set.

In accordance with the Australian Cotton Production Manual 2017 method, day degrees (DD) are calculated as:
DD = (maximum temperature – 12) + (minimum temperature – 12) / 2

However when minimum temperatures are less than 12°C
DD = (maximum temperature – 12) / 2

We do request that any information downloaded is acknowledged as obtained via the CSD and OzForecast network.

CSD have additional tools in the pipeline, which we anticipate will provide valuable information for growers to utilise through the season. We also encourage any feedback on the current suite of tools.

By Chris Teague, Extension & Development Agronomist – Border Rivers and Balonne