Maine Agricultural Weather Center Evaluation of Interpolated Weather Data for use in Agricultural Management Decisions

In recent years, Maine blueberry growers have benefited greatly from weather-based estimates that inform critically important pest management decisions. However, the high cost to operate on-site weather stations to provide input for these estimates may not be sustainable.

Since 1997, the Maine apple industry has used farm-specific weather values based on interpolation between measurements at surrounding professionally-managed weather stations.  Data are delivered electronically as hourly observation and10-day forecasts. These data are translated into publicly available web page grower advisories by an automated computer system.  Informal evaluation indicates that estimates for apple bloom date and other easily observable events have been very good. But we need to verify that estimates based on interpolated weather match those made with on-site station observations.

This project will compare model estimates for the most important blueberry and apple diseases using the two data sources at 10 Maine sites. This project will help determine if costs to acquire blueberry weather data can be substantially reduced, and test the accuracy of the apple orchard advisory system already in use.

Documenting the efficacy of the interpolated weather data would set the stage for developing an economically sustainable and much-needed Maine Agricultural Weather Support Network.

Full report is available in the MAC Integrated Research & Extension Grant Reports: 2014-2015.

Project No.: MAC144

Investigators: Glen Koehler, Seanna Annis