Citrus cold weather protection and irrigation scheduling tools using Florida automated weather network data

John L. Jackson, Kelly T. Morgan, William R. Lusher

Abstract


Weather-related information is essential to Florida’s agricultural producers for making important decisions. Citrus growers, in particular, routinely monitor current weather conditions to make informed decisions regarding the use water for irrigation and cold protection as well as the application of chemicals. Real-time monitoring of air and wet bulb temperatures is critical in cold protection and determining daily evapotranspiration rates can significantly impact irrigation scheduling. The Florida Automated Weather Network (FAWN), a program of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS), provides growers with a variety of weather-related tools that can aid them in making these decisions. The FAWN Cold Protection Toolkit assists growers in estimating minimum overnight temperatures, tracking of forecasts, estimating evaporative cooling potential, and determining the temperature at which to shut down frost-protecting irrigation; all based on real-time weather data. The FAWN Citrus Microsprinkler Irrigation Scheduler can assist growers in determining the appropriate number of days between irrigation, irrigation run-time based on evapotranspiration rates and specific grove spacing data, irrigation system design, and soil type. In addition there is a “Microsprinkler System Maintenance Guide” to assist users with questions regarding the delivery system. These tools can be found at: http://fawn.ifas.ufl.edu/tools.

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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283