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
Judi Whitson, 2016 Florida Woman of the Year in Agriculture
Citrus
April 24, 2017
Who Will Be Florida’s next Woman of the Year in Agriculture?
Nomination period now open for longstanding recognition from FDACS. Read More
Apples & Pears
April 24, 2017
Researcher Uncovers the Origins of ‘Honeycrisp’ Apple
Thanks to the scientific data available through gene sequencing, a graduate student unlocks the mystery parentage. Read More
Citrus
April 23, 2017
Bio Huma Netics, Inc., and Mesa Verde Resources Expand Product Selection
Strategic alliance between the two companies is designed to offer customers greater access to products. Read More
GenNext Growers
April 22, 2017
Next Generation of Leaders Gets Yearlong Almond Immersion
Almond Leadership Program enters its ninth year with the 2017 class. Read More
Washington Capitol building
Citrus
April 21, 2017
Alliance Stepping Up Efforts to Protect Specialty Crops
The Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance has kicked off its efforts to communicate to Congress its priority needs for the Read More
glass of red wine
Grapes
April 20, 2017
Would You Be Willing to Pay More for Organic Wine?
While consumers might be ready to fork over more for organic produce, study says the feeling isn't quite the same when it comes to the adult beverage. Read More
UF/IFAS scientist Jonathan Crane inspects avocado trees in South Florida
Crop Protection
April 20, 2017
Beetle Battle Burgeoning for South Florida Avocado Growers
Scientists identify more species of pests that vector deadly fungus. Read More
farm labor pic for web
Citrus
April 20, 2017
Farm Labor Is in Crisis
To have a great crop potentially rot in the field because workers can’t be sourced is probably worse than a weather event taking out production. Read More
Zellwood, FL, muck farming history photo
Vegetables
April 19, 2017
Free Forum to Hail Florida Muck Farming History
Zellwood Historical Society helping shine a light on an industry that defined the area. Read More
Vegetables
April 19, 2017
Want Low Drama Food Safety Inspections? Embrace Paperwork [Opinion]
When I was in high school, my mom was the administrator of an outpatient hospital. Like all hospitals, Mom’s was Read More
Vegetables
April 19, 2017
Which Vegetable Crops Are the Most Popular?
The editors at American Vegetable Grower asked growers about their crops as part of our 2017 State of the Vegetable Industry survey, and gained a lot of insight into which crops are most commonly grown, and how well those crops are performing. Read More
Grapes
April 19, 2017
Donnell Brown Named President of National Grape & Wine Initiative
New president brings experience in wine industry communications. Read More
Alternaria Leaf Spot of Cucurbits
Cucurbits
April 19, 2017
Alternaria Leaf Spot Awareness Can Save Your Cucurbit Crops
Learn how to identify, the survival and spread, as well as management methods for this malady. Read More
Apples & Pears
April 19, 2017
Young Apple Growers Meet with Lawmakers
Apple leaders from across the country discuss ag issues such as labor, trade, and research. Read More
Barnes Farm cabbage field in Hastings, FL
Citrus
April 18, 2017
Florida Growers Seeking Inspiration Need Not Look Far
The firsthand experience of speaking with farmers and actually seeing all the hard work, knowledge, ingenuity, and people behind where our food comes from is invaluable. Read More
The Latest
Citrus
April 24, 2017
Who Will Be Florida’s next Woman of the …
Nomination period now open for longstanding recognition from FDACS. Read More
Apples & Pears
April 24, 2017
Researcher Uncovers the Origins of ‘Hone…
Thanks to the scientific data available through gene sequencing, a graduate student unlocks the mystery parentage. Read More
Citrus
April 23, 2017
Bio Huma Netics, Inc., and Mesa Verde Re…
Strategic alliance between the two companies is designed to offer customers greater access to products. Read More
GenNext Growers
April 22, 2017
Next Generation of Leaders Gets Yearlong…
Almond Leadership Program enters its ninth year with the 2017 class. Read More
Citrus
April 21, 2017
Alliance Stepping Up Efforts to Protect …
The Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance has kicked off its efforts to communicate to Congress its priority needs for the Read More
Apples & Pears
April 21, 2017
Interpera Congress Heads to Pacific Nort…
International pear conference comes to the U.S. for the first time. Read More
Grapes
April 20, 2017
Would You Be Willing to Pay More for Org…
While consumers might be ready to fork over more for organic produce, study says the feeling isn't quite the same when it comes to the adult beverage. Read More
Crop Protection
April 20, 2017
Beetle Battle Burgeoning for South Flori…
Scientists identify more species of pests that vector deadly fungus. Read More
Citrus
April 20, 2017
Farm Labor Is in Crisis
To have a great crop potentially rot in the field because workers can’t be sourced is probably worse than a weather event taking out production. Read More
Vegetables
April 19, 2017
Free Forum to Hail Florida Muck Farming …
Zellwood Historical Society helping shine a light on an industry that defined the area. Read More
Vegetables
April 19, 2017
Want Low Drama Food Safety Inspections? …
When I was in high school, my mom was the administrator of an outpatient hospital. Like all hospitals, Mom’s was Read More
Vegetables
April 19, 2017
Which Vegetable Crops Are the Most Popul…
The editors at American Vegetable Grower asked growers about their crops as part of our 2017 State of the Vegetable Industry survey, and gained a lot of insight into which crops are most commonly grown, and how well those crops are performing. Read More
Grapes
April 19, 2017
Donnell Brown Named President of Nationa…
New president brings experience in wine industry communications. Read More
Cucurbits
April 19, 2017
Alternaria Leaf Spot Awareness Can Save …
Learn how to identify, the survival and spread, as well as management methods for this malady. Read More
Apples & Pears
April 19, 2017
Young Apple Growers Meet with Lawmakers
Apple leaders from across the country discuss ag issues such as labor, trade, and research. Read More
Citrus
April 18, 2017
Florida Growers Seeking Inspiration Need…
The firsthand experience of speaking with farmers and actually seeing all the hard work, knowledge, ingenuity, and people behind where our food comes from is invaluable. Read More
Citrus
April 18, 2017
Citrus Growth Path Uncertain as Florida …
According to the latest Lay of the Land Market Report, the waiting game for a solution to greening has tempered groves sales. Read More
Farm Management
April 18, 2017
Survey Says New York Growers Lost More t…
Growers say they suffered more than 50% crop losses in Western New York. Read More