Planning For A Freeze

Planning For A Freeze

By far, the most widely used method of cold protection in Florida is the application of water. When using water for cold protection, growers must operate their irrigation systems to keep their crops from being damaged, while at the same time minimizing water use.

The Florida Automated Weather Network (FAWN) is a statewide system of 35 automated weather-observing sites — located from Homestead to Jay (near Pensacola) — that collect data every 15 minutes. The data, along with several calculated products and weather-related tools, are delivered to the public via the Internet and can also be retrieved via a telephone voice message system. FAWN has taken real-time weather information and developed the Cold Protection Toolkit — a step-by-step decision-making guide for using water for cold protection.

Temperature Tools

Inherent in every crop is a temperature at which cold air will begin to cause damage. So, the first step in the cold protection process is to determine the critical temperature for a given crop. FAWN’s online guide, Determining Critical Freezing Temperatures For Plants In Florida, provides assistance with determining the critical temperature for various crops in the state.

Next, the Fruit Frost Station Forecast tool provides a big-picture overview of whether cold protection may be needed during the upcoming week by retrieving a seven-day forecast for 180 of the prior National Weather Service (NWS) Fruit Frost Forecast locations.

On a night when critical temperatures are possible, the Forecast Tracker displays the NWS forecasted temperature and the observed temperature at any FAWN site on a 48-hour graph; a critical temperature can also be displayed as well.

The Minimum Overnight Temperature tool further evaluates the likelihood of the forecasted temperature occurring using the Brunt equation to estimate the minimum overnight temperature at each FAWN site. The sunset air and dew point temperatures can also be manually submitted for an estimate at the user’s location.

There is always a risk of further cooling due to evaporation when using irrigation systems for cold protection. The Evaporative Cooling Potential tool categorizes the evaporative cooling potential at each FAWN site.

Finally, the Wet-Bulb Based Irrigation Cutoff Temperature tool — which utilizes the basic cold-protection recommendation to discontinue irrigation when the wet bulb temperature reaches the critical temperature of the crop being protected — calculates an air temperature at which the wet bulb and your critical temperature would be equal. Air temperature, dew point temperature, and wind speed can also be manually submitted to determine the cutoff temperature at any location.

Substantial Savings

It has been estimated that use of these tools can save two hours of irrigation per cold event. During a relatively warm winter, one to three nights may require cold protection for a total savings of two to six irrigation hours. A cold winter, however, may produce four to 10 nights requiring cold protection for a savings of eight to 20 hours. Depending on the number of nights that need protection, billions of gallons of water and millions of dollars can potentially be saved by using FAWN Cold Protection tools.

The FAWN Cold Protection Toolkit provides step-by-step guidance for using water for cold protection by first helping users find their critical temperature, determining generally which upcoming nights might require cold protection, then guidance during individual cold events for when to start and stop irrigation. To use the FAWN Cold Protection Toolkit, visit http://fawn.ifas.ufl.edu, select Tools, and then Cold Protection Toolkit.

FAWN thanks the University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences for financial support and infrastructure; the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, South Florida Water Management District, Southwest Florida Water Management District, and St. Johns River Water Management District for their ongoing financial support.

Leave a Reply

Featured Stories
Summer Foley gets crowned Miss Florida Citrus 2015 by 2004 winner Nikki Upthegrove Matthews and reigning Miss Florida Vicotria Cowen
Citrus
February 10, 2016
Who Will Be Crowned Miss Florida Citrus 2016?
Contestants invited to carry on a time-old industry tradition. Read More
field USDA
Disease Control
February 10, 2016
Broad-Spectrum Fungicide Approved For Specialty Crops In California
Rhyme controls powdery mildew, brown rot blossom blight, and leaf rusts. Read More
A selection of Andean dry beans, Phaseolus vulgaris, from the Andean bean diversity panel.

 

Photo by Stephen Ausmus.
Vegetables
February 10, 2016
Pulse Crops Top The List For Research
Scientists are making global contributions by participating in the Feed the Future Grain Legumes Project. Read More
The restoration of this secondary channel of the Napa River was made possible through the Rutherford Reach Restoration Project.
Grapes
February 10, 2016
Restoring The Napa River
The Napa River, which has helped create soil perfect for grape-growing in the Napa Valley, is in danger. Fortunately, conscientious Read More
Almond Board of Calif. logo
Nuts
February 10, 2016
Almond Board Working Toward Next-Generation Sustainability Solutions
New sustainability initiatives will bring the almond industry into the 22nd century. Read More
Photo Credit: David Eddy
Nuts
February 10, 2016
Incentives Available For Low-Emission Harvesters 
Almond and walnut growers who use lower-emission harvesting equipment may be eligible for financial incentives. Beginning this year, the USDA Read More
pile of potatoes
Potatoes
February 10, 2016
Potatoes Are More Than A Good Source Of Potassium
Researchers have been investigating the enhancement of oxidative qualities through breeding potato selections that are considerably higher in antioxidants than those currently available. Read More
Make sure your tank is free of cracks or fractures to avoid loss of product.
Photos credit: Fred Whitford, Purdue University
Equipment
February 10, 2016
Get Your Sprayer Ready For Spring
Cleaning equipment, checking for damages, and ensuring proper calibration should be standard procedure before the season begins. Read More
Bayer company logo
Crop Protection
February 10, 2016
Bayer Contests EPA’s Decision On Insecticide  
Company seeks to stop agency’s proposed cancellation of flubendiamide. Read More
Contour Farming
Vegetables
February 10, 2016
Vegetable Production: A Lesson In Sustainability
Thanks to the efforts of those producing vegetables, we have an abundance of healthy food options. Read More
The Latest
Citrus
February 10, 2016
Who Will Be Crowned Miss Florida Citrus …
Contestants invited to carry on a time-old industry tradition. Read More
Disease Control
February 10, 2016
Broad-Spectrum Fungicide Approved For Sp…
Rhyme controls powdery mildew, brown rot blossom blight, and leaf rusts. Read More
Vegetables
February 10, 2016
Pulse Crops Top The List For Research
Scientists are making global contributions by participating in the Feed the Future Grain Legumes Project. Read More
Grapes
February 10, 2016
Restoring The Napa River
The Napa River, which has helped create soil perfect for grape-growing in the Napa Valley, is in danger. Fortunately, conscientious Read More
Nuts
February 10, 2016
Almond Board Working Toward Next-Generat…
New sustainability initiatives will bring the almond industry into the 22nd century. Read More
Nuts
February 10, 2016
Incentives Available For Low-Emission Ha…
Almond and walnut growers who use lower-emission harvesting equipment may be eligible for financial incentives. Beginning this year, the USDA Read More
Potatoes
February 10, 2016
Potatoes Are More Than A Good Source Of …
Researchers have been investigating the enhancement of oxidative qualities through breeding potato selections that are considerably higher in antioxidants than those currently available. Read More
Equipment
February 10, 2016
Get Your Sprayer Ready For Spring
Cleaning equipment, checking for damages, and ensuring proper calibration should be standard procedure before the season begins. Read More
Crop Protection
February 10, 2016
Bayer Contests EPA’s Decision On Insecti…
Company seeks to stop agency’s proposed cancellation of flubendiamide. Read More
Vegetables
February 10, 2016
Vegetable Production: A Lesson In Sustai…
Thanks to the efforts of those producing vegetables, we have an abundance of healthy food options. Read More
Insect & Disease Update
February 9, 2016
University Of Florida Research Receives …
A big chunk of the federal funding will focus on growing the bacterium in a lab. Read More
Citrus
February 9, 2016
Revised Forecast Yields Small Victory Fo…
Updated USDA estimate holds serve again; hasn’t dipped since December. Read More
Apples & Pears
February 9, 2016
State Of The Fruit Industry 2016 [VIDEO]
According to an national poll of fruit growers, fruit industry suppliers, and researchers, the market is poised for growth in Read More
Crop Protection
February 9, 2016
Biopesticides And IPM
Dr. Surendra Dara, Strawberry and Vegetable Crops Advisor and Affiliated IPM Advisor with University of California Cooperative Extension, has long Read More
Fruits
February 8, 2016
Precision Fruit Growing, Business Manage…
American Fruit Grower magazine managing editor Christina Herrick posts her updates from the 59th annual gathering. Read More
Farm Marketing
February 8, 2016
Food Policy: If You Don’t Speak, O…
British Columbia's former ag minister spoke with attendees at NAFDMA's Convention about the political realities surrounding food policies. Read More
Farm Marketing
February 8, 2016
How British Columbia And U.S. Regs Are S…
Laws passed decades ago to protect small farms aren't keeping up with the realities of modern farmers and their marketing efforts. Restrictions can shut down hosting weddings, but offer incentives to open wineries. Read More
Farm Marketing
February 8, 2016
3 Tips On How Not To Lose Your Shirt Whe…
Chef and consultant Chuck Currie told NAFDMA Convention attendees the basic principles of what makes a farm market eatery a success or a flop. Read More
[gravityform id="62" title="false" description="false"]