Test Plot Climate Data Improves Herbicide Research
Dale Horn, Senior Research Agronomist, Western Ag Innovations
This past summer I ran thousands of research plots for a leading chemical company. With the weather stations we had been using, I had to invest hundreds of hours trying to make them work. If I deployed three stations, maybe one would end up working. After doing quite a bit of research, we purchased some HOBO Weather Stations which we use out in the field for herbicide research in test plots. These are research plots and there are 30,000 plots total. We’ve been monitoring wind speed and direction, relative humidity, rainfall, air temperature, and soil moisture. The data we’re collecting is needed for the registration of new pesticides. When a trial is sprayed we need the environmental conditions at the time when they are sprayed to understand the capabilities of a herbicide. We deployed two HOBO Weather Stations, and the installation was pretty out-of-the-box and straightforward. Our Garmin GPS was useful for aligning the system to the North, and we found it was very valuable to have a ¼” nut driver with flexible tip during the installation. From a hardware standpoint, the HOBO Weather Station offered us a great deal of simplicity with total integration of the sensors. We sample the data hourly and it’s nice when we go in to offload the data not to have to stop the system for taking measurements. We use both data shuttles and laptops to offload the data. Once we get the data offloaded we plot it in HOBOware and then used specialized software to work with the data. The data we collected highlighted that it was an extremely dry year and that was why the herbicides acted very differently. It was very easy to see in less than 10 seconds what was going on. For someone who doesn’t have very much time, that’s very valuable. And, if I can immediately explain what’s going on it gains a lot of trust for me and makes my work a lot more efficient. If you have tools that don’t fight you, it becomes fun to do your job. It’s that simple. I always use HOBO tools in flexible, innovative ways that are simple. Good tools will make money.