Drought, flooding or any other natural disaster can cause havoc on an agricultural operation. At key times in the production period, farmers make use of the weather information available to make informed decisions about when to spray, plow, plant or harvest. A rain at the right time or a drought at the wrong time could drastically change commodity yields and, consequently, profit.
"Probably nothing is more important to farming than the weather," Henry James wrote. He also pointed out that the National Weather Service left the agricultural weather business in 1996 because of budget constraints. James found a quality difference between weather sites that were free and sites that were subscription-based. Subscription services will alert farmers of hazardous changing conditions, whereas the farmer must check the free services frequently to stay informed.
Sites may offer current conditions, three- to seven-day forecasts, Doppler weather radar, drying conditions, rainfall totals and other information. Most often, the best weather sites are those that are local or geographically close to an operation.
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