5 technologies make farms smarter


Salon [2017-03-18]:

Allison Morrill Chatrchyan

Allison Morrill Chatrchyan

What Allison Morrill Chatrchyan has been hearing from farmers in recent years makes it difficult to buy President Donald Trump’s claim that global warming is a Chinese hoax. Perhaps more than climate researchers themselves, farmers have their pulse on the weather and know it’s getting weird out there.

“They’re seeing changes now,” the director of Cornell University’s Institute for Climate Smart Solutions told Salon. “Farmers are talking about an increase in uncertainty.” This uncertainty includes a gradual increase in weather extremes. In the northeastern United States, global warming is causing progressively longer growing seasons and heavy rainfall interspersed with periods of drought.

These changing environmental conditions are part of why Cornell offers online tools for farmers in the region to obtain real-time data that helps them predict things like the important stages of crop development, the chances of pest and disease outbreaks and whether there will be a deficit or surplus of water. The data allows farmers to plug in their zip codes to obtain recent and 15- or 30-year local conditions, helping them forecast how climate change will affect their current season as the needles of temperature and humidity gradually shift every year. February’s spring-like weather that caused Washington, D.C.’s cherry trees to blossom prematurely might disappoint tourists to the nation’s capital this spring, but for a small farm, screwy seasonal transitions like that can be economically crippling.

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Category: News & Events

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