Missouri uses weather stations to help farmers avoid off-target applications

by Linda Geist

Nine Missouri weather stations recently received updates to help farmers and chemical applicators know when to spray herbicides to avoid off-target movement caused by temperature inversions.

The University of Missouri Extension Commercial Agriculture Program operates 24 real-time weather stations throughout the state. The Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council recently funded updates for stations in Monroe City, Vandalia, Albany, Columbia, Green Ridge, Hayward, Lamar, Linneus and Mountain Grove.

MU Plant Sciences researcher Mandy Bish says these weather stations now read air temperatures at three ground heights. MU Extension climatologist Pat Guinan and systems administrator John Travlos collaborated with Bish and MU Extension weed scientist Kevin Bradley to select and equip stations in multiple cropping districts in the state.

Reports from each station feed immediately to the free Missouri Mesonet website at mesonet.missouri.edu. This information indicates whether conditions are right fortemperature inversions that contribute to chemical drift.

Temperature inversions are stable air masses in which cooler air is near the earth’s surface and warmer air is on top.

Inversions are common throughout the growing season. Inversions may occur at different times of the day, but they typically start between 6 and 7 p.m. during early months and 7 to 8 p.m. in later summer.

They also happen at times when farmers may have once thought it safe to spray: when skies are clear and the wind is still.

Read the rest of the story in Delta Farm Press.

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