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On-Farm Research Conference

Weather/Climate Information for Agricultural Research

Brian K. Hornbuckle
Assistant Professor
Department of Agronomy
Iowa State University
Phone: 515-294-9868

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Weather or climate information is often needed in order to analyze data collected in agricultural research, or to make decisions concerning future agricultural activities. For example, air temperature during the growing season can be used to compute the number of growing degree days accumulated which can be used to explain why actual yields may not match predicted yields. A weather forecast for air temperature can be used to determine whether measures need to be taken to protect crops that could be damaged or killed by frost. I will show how to use the Iowa Environmental Mesonet to acquire many types of weather and climate information for agricultural research. I will also show how to use the website of the National Weather Service to acquire weather forecasts. Finally, I will illustrate how the quality of weather/climate data needed will determine whether readily-available on-line data is sufficient for the specific agricultural research being undertaken, or whether more detailed meteorological measurements must be taken in order to answer your research questions, by describing the measurements made at a field site near the campus of Iowa State University.

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