Florida’s farm families can develop strategies for producing food in advance of volatile weather patterns with tools provided by the Southeast Climate Consortium.
The consortium, a collaborative project of University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) faculty members and other researchers, has created a specialized website for this purpose.
Visit www.agroclimate.org to access a large amount of information, including long-term climate forecasts. The site is housed at the University of Florida.
Clyde Fraisse, a UF/IFAS agro-meteorologist, said, “The bulk of our program is to make information usable by a farmer so that a decision can be made or confirmed.”
He explained that the farmer must make a judgment about the probability of climate predictions and integrate them into current operations.
“In Florida we talk about the market window,” Fraisse said. “We want to get a crop out of the field as soon as possible so we have a better marketing window. But sometimes, the early variety may not be as resistant to diseases as another one.
“That’s where the strategy comes in. It can make a big difference in your return at the end of the season.”
The long-term forecast for this fall calls for above-average rainfall and warmer temperatures. But freezes are still possible.