Posts Tagged With: weather

When is An Inch of Rain Welcome in September?

Rain during spring planting can be looked on as a good thing; rain is necessary for crops to grow. But rain during harvest?  All it does is slow you down.

So when is an inch of rain a welcome blessing in September?

When the combine runs a board through the head while driving through the field and you have to tear the whole thing apart to fix it.

Rain 3

When the part you need to fix the combine head has to be shipped from three states away.

When your farmer signs up for professional development programs and must travel to D.C. during prime harvest time.

Rain 2

When you really, really, really need someone to fix the dishwasher.

When you really, really, really need someone to wrangle the kids.

When we’re all tired of family dinners consisting of Subway sandwiches at the edge of a field.

Rain 1

When the average amount of sleep you’re farmer has had per night is less than the number of days since you saw him last.

When God sends the rain and there’s nothing you can do about it anyway!

Categories: Family, Farming | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

What is Drought?

Maybe you’ve heard about it on the news, or maybe you can look out your window and see it, but what is a drought?  And why is it so important this year?

Drought brings to mind hot, dry summers, but the actual meaning of the word is just that there is not enough water supply to meet the demand.  There are actually three types of drought and one of them is called agricultural drought.  It means there is not enough water for plants to grow.  Usually agricultural drought is caused by a lack of rain, but it is possible for farmers to be experiencing drought while others in the cities and towns are not.

The reason is that plants need water more at some times that others.  If the corn is ready to pollinate or if the kernels are filling out the plant needs more water than usual.  If the ground is dry just for these important steps it can mess up the entire plant.  A well-timed rain can be just as important as lots of rain.

Agricultural drought affects everyone.  This year the drought is over many places in the US.  That means food of all kinds is struggling to grow.  But drought is affecting even more than food this year.  Some towns are having problems with getting enough water for people to use for drinking, cooking, and cleaning.  These towns must stop people from washing their cars, watering their gardens, or filling pools.  Wild animals are also struggling for food, since the grasses, bushes, and berries they usually eat are burnt.  Trees are already loosing their leaves.

Brainstorm a list of all the ways you use water.  Which can be affected by drought?  Leave me a comment and tell us if you already see signs of the drought where you are.

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March Myths? Graphing March Weather

This month we have been exploring the ways weather matters to farmers.  Some of you have also been collecting data about the weather in your area.  We asked a few questions about March and now we can use this data to find the answers.  But just looking at a list of numbers may not be the easiest way to learn anything!

That is why we need a graph.  Graphs are a way to take data and make them into something like a picture.  This makes them easy to understand!

The first thing you need to do is decide what data to put in a graph.  I am choosing to put two kinds of data in my chart; lion days and lamb days.types of graphs
I used a program on my computer to draw this pie graph.  Its called a pie graph because you slice a circle into pieces to show data.  When I look at this graph I can see easily there were more lamb days than lion!



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How many kinds of weather can you think of?

There are lots of types of storms, but today let’s BRAINSTORM!  brainstorm weather

Grab a blank sheet of paper and start writing.  Some people like to brainstorm by writing a list; other prefer to make a web.  Whatever you do– just write it down!

The best thing about brainstorming is there are no wrong answers.  You are not taking a test.  You are not showing what you know.  You are coming up with ideas.  And later you might decide the idea wasn’t what you needed, but for now, everything goes!

Go on– do it now!

Did you think of weather we have each day?  What about weather we have over a long period of time?  What about climate, which is a really long period of time.  Don’t forget weather disasters or your favorite kinds of weather.

Now that you’ve brainstormed, let’s do something with your list.  Look through it and choose three types of weather that could affect a farmer.  Circle them.  Could you make a movie about farming with your weather choice?  Would it make a funny story or a dramatic play?  Is it just another day on the farm?  Jot some notes or talk to a friend and see what brainy ideas your storm came up with!

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Farmers love the Weather Radar

Farmers live by the weather. That is why we keep this website at our fingertips.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration provides all kinds of weather related articles, but most important to our farm is the forecast feature!  Type in your town or zip code to get a five-day picture forecast and a detailed seven-day outlook.  We use this site most because we need to know more than today has a 50% chance of rain.

If our tractor is planting we need to know when the rain is coming through.  If the combine across the county we need to know where hail is predicted.  If severe storms are on the way we need to know how they will shape up.

Which means we need 24 hour access to a radar and satalite graphweather graph

Scroll down a bit and look on the right hand side for pictures like these.  When you click on these images you open pages that allow you to learn in more detail what is happening in the sky.

The radar, which is the picture to your left, is one we really rely on.  The image will show your specific area of the country and the button on the left act like a “play” button so you can watch how the clouds have moved in the last hour.  If today is a clear, cloudless day you might not have much to see, but the next time it storms you can actually view the whole thing on your computer!

Radar helps us see what is happening right now.  Sometimes, however, we need to get a better idea about what is coming in the future.  That is when we turn to the satellite.

The satellite shows temperature and cloud cover across the US.  Weather is created by temperature.  Cold fronts meet warm air and weather happens!   Check out the bar code on the right side and notice that blue colors are cooler and red shades represent warmer regions.  Then you can click on the different images to see temperatures throughout the country.

Watch the temperature and watch the clouds.  Can you see what might be happening?  Sure, reading the forecast is much easier to understand, but if you learn to read the clouds, they will tell you just as much!

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March Myths? Lesson to Record March’s Weather

The saying goes that March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.  In Missouri, however, I’m pretty sure we get chimps, seals, toucans, and buffalo in there somewhere as well.

For farmers, weather is really important.  We plant when soil temperatures are warm, we can’t do much of anything in the rain, and we hope for few storms and no hail.  But what we want and what we get are often two different things!

In addition to the lion/lamb saying there are several other “wives tales” surrounding March weather.

A dry March and a wet May?Fill barns and bays with corn and hay.

As it rains in March so it rains in June.

March winds and April showers? Bring forth May flowers.

Are any of these true?

Find out by recording the weather this month.  Use a simple calender, or even a piece of notebook paper to write down a few simple facts about the weather each day.  Make note of the temperature, clouds or sunshine, wind, and precipitation (rain, snow, sleet, or hail).

Check back at the end of the month for graph lesson plans to record your data, and look for more weather ideas all through March!

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