Website's new weather tool to aid farmers in 12 states

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach
Farm Forum

AMES, Iowa — Iowa State University Extension and Outreach has debuted a new tool on the Forecast and Assessment of Cropping Systems (FACTS) website that displays weather summaries for every crop reporting district in 12 Midwest states.

The weather summaries include data from 1984 through today, updated every month and with information on temperature, precipitation, radiation and other weather indicators — like the number of days with extreme weather rain events, or the number of warm nights.

“This new tool provides an easy way for farmers and scientists to benchmark weather at any crop reporting district by month,” said Sotirios Archontoulis, associate professor of agronomy and principal member of the FACTS team at Iowa State University.

The new weather tool enables the user to select a crop reporting district from the nearly 1,000 counties across the Midwest. Once a district is selected, the user chooses a weather variable of interest and the month with the year, and the tool displays benchmarking graphs with options to download the data.

“This data can be crucial for decision-making on the ground and in the field,” Archontoulis said. “Weather is the main driver of yield and soil water/nitrogen fluctuations from year-to-year across the landscape, and having a benchmarking system that can be referenced will inform those decisions.”

This tool has aggregated weather data at the crop reporting district level for the first time, using 100 grids within a single crop reporting district instead of the typical one or two. The range of weather indicators available as well as the flexibility in performing benchmark graphs saves everyone time and gives greater detail than what has previously been available.

To access the new weather tool, go to https://bit.ly/3ijHK1D.