Freeze Threat Has Florida Growers On Alert
With freezing weather approaching North and Central Florida, agricultural producers across the state can obtain frost/freeze forecasts and crop protection recommendations through the updated “My Florida Farm Weather” website.
The program, developed by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) in partnership with University of Florida’s Automated Weather Network (FAWN), provides recommendations on irrigation and other protection methods farmers can take, along with up-to-the-minute information on rainfall, temperature, humidity, dew point, wind speed and wind direction.
The information is available online, where a map of the state of Florida aggregates data collected from weather stations on private agricultural lands throughout the state. Visit http://fawn.ifas.ufl.edu/mffw/, check the box next to “Grower,” then pick a weather station and click “Cold Protection Toolkit” to view the data.
The “Cold Protection Toolkit” includes:
- Three-day temperatures, wind speeds and rainfall forecasts.
- Minimum overnight temperature forecasts.
- A forecast tracker that allows growers to see how the forecasts compare to real-time information from the weather station on the farm.
- A safe temperature at which a grower can turn off the irrigation following a frost/freeze event without risking damage to the crop, based on the critical temperature the grower enters into the tool and the real-time weather information from the weather station on the farm.
The weather stations are part of a cost-share program that is a partnership with FDACS. Producers are eligible to receive funding for one weather station for each 300 acres of the operation. The department provides 75% of the cost of each device up to $5,000, with a total cap of $50,000 per producer. There are currently 152 producers who have participated.