Project Details:

Title:
Improving Meteorological Measurements at Kansas Mesonet Weather Stations to Assist with Herbicide Drift Monitoring

Parent Project: This is the first year of this project.
Checkoff Organization:Kansas Soybean Commission
Categories:Environmental stress, Education, Climate change
Organization Project Code:1990
Project Year:2019
Lead Principal Investigator:Eduardo Santos (Kansas State University)
Co-Principal Investigators:
Keywords: Climate, dispersion, herbicide, inversion, mesonet, spraying, weather

Contributing Organizations

Funding Institutions

Information and Results

Click a section heading to display its contents.

Project Summary

This project would fund four station upgrades: Hutchinson 10SW, Scandia, Rossville and Silver Lake weather stations. These upgrades would be completed by the end of the first year. After the upgrade, data will be tested internally for quality control/assurance for two months and become operational on Kansas Mesonet website (mesonet.ksu.edu). This data will be accessible free of charge to the public, government, and private sector. Data will also be available via the Mesonet REST API and incorporated into the inversion monitoring tool. Upon completion, the data will be available for on-farm research at the respective locations. The associated research will provide additional insight to inversions, their timing, strength, and impacts on spraying via either physical drift or volatilization. This data will be disseminated through publications, outreach events, and various other KSRE publications.

Project Objectives

Develop a platform for monitoring temperature inversions, by utilizing temperatures at two heights, and for supporting spray volatilization research through upgrading Kansas Mesonet weather stations located on Kansas State University Research and Extension (KSRE) Experiment Fields.

Project Deliverables

Upgrade four mesonet stations.
-Four Kansas Mesonet weather stations located at KSRE Experiment Fields will be upgraded: Hutchinson, Scandia, Rossville and Topeka (Silver Lake). These field research facilities currently have shorter 10 feet-high weather station towers with temperature measurement at only one height: 6 foot. To measure the presence of inversions, two temperature sensors are needed at different heights (Enz et al., 2014). On the Kansas Mesonet stations this is achieved at 30 and 6 feet, coinciding with wind speed and direction measurements. These observations provide valuable insight to the stability of the lower atmosphere, closest to the surface. This installation process entails removing the current tripod completely and installing an entirely new tower/equipment in replacement.

Application of the data.
-Labeling on several herbicides have begun to consider temperature inversions in their restrictions for spraying (Monsanto Company, 2016). Due to the procedure to verify inversions present, it is not easily achieved in the field. Therefore, the data provided at these weather stations will be incorporated into the Kansas Mesonet Inversion Monitor webpage: mesonet.ksu.edu/agriculture/inversion. This will provide real-time (updated every five minutes) inversion monitoring for research on the farms, where herbicide applications are often tested. This data also will be readily available to the public using the Kansas Mesonet current infrastructure. Implementing this upgrade will also create a historical data record available for the region for supporting of herbicide drift/volatilization and climatology studies.

Progress of Work

Updated January 14, 2019:

View uploaded report PDF file

Updated January 14, 2019:
January 2019 Progress update
Updated: 1/14/19

November 2018: Solidified location for new Hutchinson 10SW station upgrade.
December 2018: Installed Hutchinson 10SW station and upgrades. Data ingestion began for quality assurance. Solidified two potential locations for remaining two Silver Lake and Rossville updates.

All project activities were completed on time.

Kansas Public Radio (KPR) aired a story featuring audio from the new Hutchinson 10SW station and mentions the upgrades made possible by the Soybean Commission: https://kansaspublicradio.org/kpr-news/kansas-state-adds-weather-towers-mesonet-network

View uploaded report PDF file

Updated April 15, 2019:
April 2019 Progress update
Updated: 4/14/19

January 2019: Solidified locations for remaining two stations, Silver Lake and Rossville in close proximity to existing stations.
February 2019: Finalized land agreements with cooperators of both Silver Lake and Rossville. Installations delayed due to weather.
April 2019: Began installation of Silver Lake and Rossville stations.

All project activities remain on schedule.

View uploaded report PDF file

Updated August 14, 2019:
August 2019 Progress Update (and Final Update below).
Updated: 4/14/19
(Figures correlate with text in attached document)

May 2019: Rossville and Silver Lake weather station installations complete and data began quality control processes (Figure 1).
June 2019: Both weather stations were added to the webpage with data readily accessible to all local land owners and users.
July 2019: Twelve presentations were given based on inversion data available from these locations to producers and K-State agronomy students.
August 2019: Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at Rossville 2SE station (Figure 4).

All project activities were completed on schedule.


Figure 1. Left, Rossville 2SE station viewed from the south. Right, Silver Lake 4E station from the east - being shown to visiting students from India.


Final Report


Project results:
-Four weather stations within the soybean regime of Kansas (Hutchinson 10SW, Scandia - now Belleville 2W, Rossville - now Rossville 2SE, and Silver Lake - now Silver Lake 4E) were updated during the period of this project as anticipated. All four of these observing stations now measure the presence of inversions within locale K-State Experiment Fields for future research and are available to the public.
Deliverables/Performance Metrics:
-Four stations were installed to provide additional coverage of inversion data in Kansas.
-Data is provided, realtime, through the Kansas Mesonet’s webpage: mesonet.ksu.edu (Figure 2). This data provide users with both current and historical inversion data aimed to prevent spray drift issues.
-Presentations and numerous outreach events occurred/planned to educate producers, agencies, and spray applicators on weather conditions conducive to spraying and utilization of the new weather data as a guidance tool.


Figure 2. Chart from Silver Lake showing nightly presence of inversions over the last seven days. A critical tool for local sprayers. Data from: mesonet.ksu.edu/agriculture/inversion

Findings:
-Inversions occur daily at all locations. Inversions typically develop an hour before sunset and persist until an hour after sunrise. All four station upgrades (Hutchinson 10SW, Belleville 2W, Rossville 2SE, and Silver Lake 4E) are representative of the region and not influenced by micrometeorology. Therefore, data suffice as a guidance tool to sprayers in the region prior to application - however, data remains not a replacement for in the field measurements still required by labelling. This tool is provided online for anyone with internet access (Figure 3).


Figure 3. Real-time data available graphically for users. Above shows a localized inversion at Ashland Bottoms station an hour and a half before sunset. Data from: mesonet.ksu.edu/agriculture/inversion


Presentations:
August 21, 2018 - Belleville Field Day
October 29, 2018 - Wichita Applicator Training
November 4, 2018 - Presentation to K-State Students
November 5, 2018 - Salina Applicator Training
November 18, 2018 - Olathe Applicator Training
December 5, 2018 - North Central Weed Science Meeting (Milwaulke, WI)
February 13, 2019 - Groundwater Management District #4
March 19, 2019 - Seneca Special Interest Group
March 27, 2019 - Noxious Weed Sprayer Training
July 15, 2019 - Jetmore Area Producers
July 24, 2019 - Protection Area Producers
August 13, 2019 - Rossville Ribbon Cutting Ceremony (Figure 4)
August 13, 2019 - Rossville Field Day
August 21, 2019 - Ottawa Field Day
August 27, 2019 - Tribune Field Day
September 4, 2019 - Northwest Technical College - Water Tech Field Day
September 5, 2019 - T&O, Roth Farm - Water Tech Field Day
September 5, 2019 - Liberal - Water Tech Field Day
September 6, 2019 - Kansas Prescribed Burn School
September 10, 2019 - Troy - Water Tech Field Day
September 20, 2019 - Manhattan Field Day
October 29, 2019 - McPherson Spray Applicators Class
October 30, 2019 - Scott City Spray Applicators Class


Figure 4. Rossville 2SE Ribbon Cutting Ceremony on August 13, 2019. Photo from the National Weather Service.

Benefits to farmers and other researchers:
-Data is now available real-time for producers/sprayers to utilize in advance of spraying (Figure 3). This guidance tool aids in making better decisions to avoid off target drift issues. Measurements collected have already been utilized by numerous agencies to examine off target impact cases. Data is also providing a platform for K-State researchers to carry out their research on nearby Experiment Fields. With crop studies focused at these locations, it provides an ideal location to examine drift and potential impacts due to inversions. Numerous presentations (and future discussions) continue to disseminate this important guidance tools to producers and agencies.

View uploaded report PDF file

Final Project Results

-Inversions occur daily at all locations. Inversions typically develop an hour before sunset and persist until an hour after sunrise. All four station upgrades (Hutchinson 10SW, Belleville 2W, Rossville 2SE, and Silver Lake 4E) are representative of the region and not influenced by micrometeorology (trees, buildings, unrepresentative terrain, water sources). Therefore, data suffice as a guidance tool to sprayers in the region prior to application - however, data remains not a replacement for in the field measurements still required by labeling. This tool is provided online for anyone with internet access (Figure 3).
-Data is now available real-time for producers/sprayers to utilize in advance of spraying (Figure 3). This guidance tool aids in making better decisions to avoid off target drift issues. Measurements collected have already been utilized by numerous agencies to examine off target impact cases. Data is also providing a platform for K-State researchers to carry out their research on nearby Experiment Fields. With crop studies focused at these locations, it provides an ideal location to examine drift and potential impacts due to inversions. Numerous presentations (and future discussions) continue to disseminate this important guidance tools to producers and agencies.

Benefit to Soybean Farmers

The most crucial key to crop production resides in the weather and climatology conditions. As the industry changes, additional environmental issues are increasing. One such issue is increasing drift reports in Kansas and associated neighboring states. Dicamba herbicide injury complaints being investigated in 2017 alone consist of 125 in Kansas, Missouri 257, Arkansas 876, Nebraska 93, and 86 in Iowa. In these states, it is estimated that over 1,500,000 acres of soybean have been impacted by drift or “off-target” spraying (Bradley, 2017). While other factors likely played a role in some cases, these reports have led to the addition of inversion limitations on herbicide spraying (Monsanto Company, 2016).

The interest for inversion monitoring has increased due to these renewed concerns of off-site herbicide movement. The addition of temperature inversion monitoring on the Kansas Mesonet has been crucial to understanding local and regional microclimatology near these locations. It has also emphasized the importance of meteorological measurements near crop research. Hutchinson, Scandia, Rossville and Silver Lake KSRE Experiment Farm/Mesonet co-locations were chosen for this reason. These four stations are top priority for upgrades due to the increased value with coinciding crop research when compared to other tripod stations. Through addition of these upgrades on the Mesonet, it will create an optimal environment for future research in spray volatilization and drift issues while providing improved application decisions by the public.

Performance Metrics

-Four stations were installed to provide additional coverage of inversion data in Kansas.
-Data is provided, realtime, through the Kansas Mesonet’s webpage: mesonet.ksu.edu (Figure 2). This data provide users with both current and historical inversion data aimed to prevent spray drift issues.
-Presentations and numerous outreach events occurred/planned to educate producers, agencies, and spray applicators on weather conditions conducive to spraying and utilization of the new weather data as a guidance tool.

Project Years