Weather plays a huge role in how your farm land position will turn out and it can influence what you’re doing to get your business up and running. The more accurate you are with your weather calculations, the better off you’ll be in the long run. This article will teach you how to manage your farm land positions to get the best results from them throughout the year by taking advantage of what Mother Nature has to offer, whatever that may be!
Soil temperatures are a common measurement to understand what is happening below ground. On hot days, soil temperatures can rise up to 20 degrees higher than air temperature. Some crops grow best in cooler soil, but for most that is too cold for root growth and may even freeze. Soil temperature needs to be within an ideal range for roots to grow quickly and actively bring nutrients from deep in the ground up into plant leaves where they are used by photosynthesis. Most plants have a minimum soil temperature below which growth will cease and if severe enough, die back. Conversely there is also a maximum soil temperature above which certain crops will also die back or suffer other stress-related symptoms such as insect attack and fungal diseases.
A lot of farmers are just now getting out into their fields, and they’re likely to find that their land is a bit different than what they remember last season. Farmers who watched rainstorms blow through without a drop of water hitting their crops last year may finally see some action—and, perhaps more concerningly, so will all those weeds. Rainfall can lead to runoff that takes soil and other pollutants with it downriver or toward streams; if runoff is coming off your farm, think about whether you need to take steps to limit pollution in your watershed. This also means monitoring weather systems that could be bringing severe storms—some rainfall is better than no rainfall at all!
A wind speed of over 30 miles per hour may be great for sailing, but it could signal a negative impact on your farm. A Category 1 hurricane, for example, can cause crop destruction and soil erosion from winds between 74 and 95 miles per hour. And let’s not forget about tornadoes, which come in several different forms: An EF-1 tornado can rip through your fields at 107 miles per hour; an EF-2 produces wind speeds up to 165 miles per hour; and an EF-3 will batter you with wind gusts of up to 200 miles per hour.
If you have ever played with a balloon and let some of it out, you know that air pressure is increased when there's less volume. Similar to a balloon, if there is more air pressure above us than below us (as in high pressure) or vice versa (low pressure), air flow can change, sometimes drastically. On days when there are no clouds, ground winds may blow faster because of low pressure. Or on days when a storm approaches and clouds form over an area of land, wind direction may change due to higher pressure on top of the cloud versus below it. Having prior knowledge about how weather changes wind direction can help you get your crops harvested faster or minimize losses if crops are exposed to damage during windy weather conditions.
Why does it matter?
When weather affects farm land position, not just farmers but also non-farmers with land holdings are affected. This is because of reduced crop yields that translate to reduced revenues and incomes, which may result in foreclosures on mortgages or even repossession of property. As far as geographical effects are concerned, areas along latitudes vulnerable to tropical cyclones or similar severe weather events may see increased erosion due to flooding or windstorms that lead to soil movement. While some areas may be temporarily inundated during such disasters, others may suffer prolonged drought due to water flow being diverted for flood control purposes. Furthermore, drought makes farms more susceptible to wildfires caused by sparks from machinery and arsonists wanting a quick and easy supply of firewood.
How are all these elements affected by climate change?
Changes in temperature, rainfall and wind patterns can have significant impacts on land position. Most importantly, they impact a farmer’s ability to produce an adequate income while still staying within his budget. Since weather and climate are important factors in every decision made by farmers, it is essential that they understand how these elements are affected by climate change. It's not just agriculture that could feel a difference; industries such as recreation, real estate and tourism will also be affected by changes in local weather patterns.
What can you do to protect your farmland investment?
One of your biggest investments could be under threat from climate change. While it may seem far off, a recent report by Teagasc (the Irish agricultural and food development authority) showed that one-third of Ireland’s farmland is predicted to change in 2080 because of climate change. If your farm is experiencing dry conditions, extreme rainfall or waterlogging, you need to take action now. Without sufficient rain and good soil moisture, land can become degraded - affecting long-term yields and putting your investment at risk.