Tracking Storms with Tractor Time

This growing season has seen lots of variability in the weather. A historically wet June followed by a relatively dry July and August has been challenging for someone tending to multiple fields. Summer storms can drop an inch on one field and leave another down the road bone dry. Having quick access to soil conditions for multiple fields takes the hard part out of decision making. Tractor Time in Morning Farm Report allows us to see weather events developing in the future so field operations can be planned more efficiently.

Recent weather patterns brought scattered and very localized convective storms into the Midwest, which provides a great test case to examine the data powering Morning Farm Report. The Tractor Time forecast makes field workability recommendations for primary and wet-spot soils 14-days in to the future. Thanks to our design and web team, we have just released a new Morning Farm Report daily email format that makes seeing operations across all fields very easy. Using the recent rain events as reference point, we can see the full life cycle of a rain storm developing through our daily email report! Shown below are screen captures of the Tractor Time forecast for the next 7 days in the daily 5am email report sent out by Morning Farm Report. We will start back on Aug. 13 and progress to Aug. 17 when the initial rain events occurred.  


You can see the projected soil conditions are mostly dry (ALL-OPS) for a few days, but there is a column of orange (LT-OPS) indicating potential rainfall on Aug 18. 


As we go from initial email on Aug. 13th to Aug. 15, we can see how our forecast models are adapting to changes and now the rain is being forecasted to start on Aug. 17, not Aug. 18. This behavior is to be expected in weather forecast models and makes sense if we think it through. The basic principle is that forecasting rain for 5 days from now is more difficult than making a forecast for tomorrow. Rain events in particular are hard to forecast, so some variability will exist in the forecast from day to day, but we can use this to our advantage. Here in the emails we see a similar projection every day as the rain event creeps closer, which means our forecasts are all agreeing on rain happening on both August 17 and August 18th.


The Aug. 17th Tractor Time email is showing LT-OPS for most fields, which indicates a moderate rainfall event but not a total gully washer. Also, notice how some fields have a red NO-OPS instead of the orange LT-OPS. These fields have poorly draining soils that cause water to hang around the soil profile for much longer than most other fields shown. Fields with poor drainage are easily identifiable with a row full of red NO-OPS, indicating the moisture hanging around these particular fields for a few extra days while most others are drying out after two days.

We have seen how the slick design and meaningful data in the new email reports make it easy to see critical information for all the fields you have registered in Morning Farm Report. The Tractor Time forecast is just one example of how the data powering Morning Farm Report can help growers make better decisions.

Over the course of 5 days, we watched an entire storm system develop and pass overheard through the daily 5am Morning Farm Report email! Morning Farm Report itself is most helpful when all different products are combined together to tell the story about your what is happening on your farm. Check Yield Engine to see how the latest rainfall (or lack there-of) is affecting the forecasted yields for your crop. Let Field Intel give you the summary of all things weather both historically and 14 days into the future for Rainfall and Temperature. When all products are put together, you get the full story of what has happening at your fields this season and can also compare how this season compares to any season going back to 2010!