Online model helps Michigan growers time spray applications

06/04/2013 03:24:00 PM
Vicky Boyd

Knowing what the weather will be like 48 hours out can help you make informed pesticide and pesticide application choices.

Michigan State University's Enviro-weather has teamed with SprayWeatherWise/Agro Weather Services to offer Michigan growers a tool to identify the best time to apply pesticides, Extension specialist Jeff Andresen writes in a grower newsletter.

In addition to past weather history and weather forecasts, Enviro-weather includes crops, pest and disease models that predict pest life cycles.

Knowing the pest life stage helps growers optimize pest control.

SprayWeatherWiseis an Internet-based decision-support system developed by two Dutch scientists, Joost Nieveen and Erno Bouma.

Users specify the location by zip code, crop, crop growth stage, soil moisture conditons and pesticide to be applied.

The program draws from National Weather Service forecasts for that location and simulates the interaction of the pesticide with the plant and environment to determine efficacy over time.

Pesticides can be directly and indirectly affected by weather.

If it rains shortly after application, for example, much of the product can be washed from the leaf.

Insect activity, plant update and other factors may be affected by temperature and relative humidity.

The decision model will be offered free of charge on a trial basis this season for a limited number of crops, including apples, blueberries, cherries, grapes, pears and potatoes.

A more comprehensive version may be offered in subsequent years on a subscription basis.

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