This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from the USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.
Ever wonder how USDA is able to make a forecast – either economic or weather? It takes a lot of work.
Last week, USDA’s U.S. meteorologist Brad Rippey met with producers in southwestern Michigan. The first stop, on a rainy, stormy morning, was with Bryan Bixby, owner of Bixby Orchards in Berrien Springs. Bixby described how spring wetness has been detrimental to fieldwork and crop quality. For example, wet, humid conditions shortened the southwestern Michigan strawberry season and reduced fruit quality. In addition, wetness has impeded Bixby’s efforts to complete soybean planting. During a tour of his orchards, Bixby described how the recent winter was Michigan’s harshest since 1976-77, causing substantial mortality in peach trees — requiring him to buy peaches from South Carolina in order to meet customer demand. Read more »
The Weekly Weather and Crop Bulletin (WWCB) began publication in 1872 as the Weekly Weather Chronicle and is jointly prepared by the U.S. Departments of Commerce and Agriculture. The bulletin provides a vital source of information on weather, climate, and agricultural developments worldwide, along with detailed charts and tables of agro-meteorological information that are appropriate for the season.
The bulletin’s extensive array of products include a drought severity index, highlights of crop conditions and planting progress for key U.S. crops, state-by-state crop summaries, and a global overview of agricultural weather conditions. The bulletin is posted every Wednesday by 12 p.m. eastern time. For past reports or to receive reports by e-mail subscription, please visit the Albert A. Mann Library at Cornell University. Read more »