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This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 65 No. 3, p. 437-439
    Received: Aug 23, 1972

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Operational Value of Weather Information in Relation to Soil Management Characteristics1

  1. R. E. Ewalt,
  2. D. Wiersma and
  3. W. L. Miller2



Improved understanding is needed of factors that may govern the degree of usefulness of weather information to farm operators. This study was undertaken to evaluate the usefulness of precipitation forecasts and field conditions forecasts to farm operators in planning and conducting field operations. Possible relationships between farm operator valuations of forecasts, soil management characteristics, and the accuracy of precipitation forecasts were studied.

Two-thirds of the 145 interviewed farm operators used both precipitation and field conditions forecasts in planning and conducting major field operations. These operators valued both types of forecasts at higher levels of usefulness than did the remaining one-third, who used only precipitation forecasts. The usefulness of precipitation forecasts and field conditions forecasts increased with increasing water-holding capacity and susceptibility of soils to physical problems such as cloddiness, tillage pans, and surface sealing.

Farm operators who used both types of forecasts valued them at approximately the same levels of usefulness in relation to major field operations conducted during the crop season. Highest values were associated with field operations that are conducted during the spring months. Precipitation forecasts were more useful than field conditions forecasts in making general management decisions. No relationship was found between the error rates of precipitation forecasts and farm operator evaluation of their usefulness.

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