Every farm has a history of management practices. The decisions we make can have a huge impact on production outcomes. A farm decision essentially comes down to two things; what to do and when to do it. A combination of farmer experience and farm observations can build up the information you need to decide what to do, but when to do it is dictated by natural changes, such as a change in weather, a late rain in a dry year, or a hail forecast right near harvest. Some of these changes, however, are less predictable than the seasons. In this article, we will look at how rainfall patterns can be used to affect our decision-making on farms.
Water is the elixir of life. As a resource, the availability or lack of water directly impacts farm productivity and hence will have a major impact on our decisions. Techniques such as irrigation and damming can be used to help control the timing around water availability decision making but, more often than not, we don't have these luxuries. Instead, we are at the mercy of the rain. Short-term managing decisions can be made by looking at the weather forecast and radar, but for long-term decisions, we need deeper insights.
Using historical observations, we can build up a general idea of how rainfall behaves on our farm. Therefore, our confidence in making decisions can come down to a handful of factors. These factors include; what is the typical volume or depth of rainfall that I should expect? What durations does the rain occur, and how reliable are these rainfall trends?
Agtuary provides you with various tools to help confirm what we already know and discover new insights into rainfall on our properties. For instance, by looking at the volume and consistency plots, we can quickly understand a typical rainfall depth on our property.
As you can see, on this property, we should expect more rain in the summer months. This expectation is further reinforced by looking at the duration plot that tells us how many months have over 30mm of rain. However, often winter and spring don't receive significant rainfall, so we can't rely upon these periods for watering.
By understanding the amount and predictability of rainfall, we can assess the potential and risk that typical rainfall behavior has on our properties. Additionally, these long term metrics around rainfall are part of the way lenders, buyers, and managers determine value and make informed decisions on farms
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