Increasing Data for Pesticide Applications in Soybean Production
Sustainable Production
Abiotic stressCrop protectionField management Water supply
Parent Project:
This is the first year of this project.
Lead Principal Investigator:
Laura Edwards, South Dakota State University
Co-Principal Investigators:
Project Code:
Contributing Organization (Checkoff):
Institution Funded:
Brief Project Summary:
The South Dakota Mesonet is expanding to about 150 weather stations between 2021-2027. A goal of the Mesonet is for inversion monitoring at every new station. With this project, researchers will upgrade five Mesonet stations to USACE requirements, each with an additional thermometer for inversion measurement. The second element of this project is to enhance the online Spray Tool with weather forecast information for pesticide applicators. The upgraded Spray Tool will display current and past observations, and utilize a high-resolution weather forecast model for a prediction of pesticide spray conditions for 48 hours in the future.
Key Beneficiaries:
#agronomists, #applicators, #farmers, #meteorologists
Unique Keywords:
#herbicides, #inversion, #mesonet, #weather
Information And Results
Project Summary

The SD Mesonet (Mesonet.sdstate.edu) was awarded a large contract to expand the network to about 140 weather stations in South Dakota over the next five years (https://www.sdstate.edu/news/2020/09/sdsu-one-four-schools-chosen-lead-u... ). Although the network expansion is driven by improving flood forecasting and precipitation measurements, this presents an opportunity for additional and improved weather sensors and inversion monitoring across the soybean growing region of South Dakota.

The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is the sponsor of the major network expansion. USACE is not interested in crop production, but the station platform and infrastructure that serves as the “basic” weather station allows for additions to be made. This project proposal requests funds for the addition of a total of five thermometers to directly measure inversions.

In FY22, five Mesonet stations will be upgraded to meet the USACE requirements in the primary soybean growing area in South Dakota. This proposal requests one additional thermometer for each of these five stations, to augment the one existing thermometer that will be in place for the USACE for direct inversion measurement. The five locations in the East River region slated for upgrades in FY22 are: Faulkton, Leola, Bowdle, Highmore and Groton. All of these stations except for Groton have been offline and will be brought back into operation. Groton is requiring an upgraded tower and will need a new thermometer.

In years two through five of the network expansion, our future funding request(s) to SDSRPC will be to add thermometers on approximately 65 more weather stations that are planned to be upgraded or newly installed in the soybean growing region of South Dakota. One primary upgrade involves new towers that increase the height of our upper temperature measurement from 3 meters to 10 meters. This upgrade will begin to bring our inversion measurements in line with heights used for air quality and pesticide drift research, and in coordination with other Mesonet inversion monitoring in the North Central Region states.

The second element of this proposed project is to enhance the online Spray Tool, with the addition of weather forecast information for pesticide applicators. The upgraded Spray Tool will then display not only current and past observations, but also utilize a high-resolution weather forecast model for a prediction of pesticide spray conditions for 48 hours in the future. The predicted variables include: temperature, relative humidity, dew point temperature, Delta-T (wet bulb depressions), wind speed & direction, boom height wind speed, and inversion (experimental mode).

Project Objectives

1. Install 5 new thermometers on Mesonet stations.
2. Update Spray Tool to add stations with new inversion measurements.
3. Add weather forecast information to Spray Tool.
4. Provide information and materials on inversions and Spray Tool to Extension and outreach audiences.

Project Deliverables

Spring and summer field season: Parts will be ordered by N. Edwards and station upgrades will be installed by SD Mesonet staff. R. Vanderleest will add stations to the Spray Tool menu of options. Spring and summer: R. Behnke will develop data processing for forecast model to predict spray conditions. R. Vanderleest will update the Spray Tool website to add this data visualization. N. Edwards and L. Edwards will oversee and approve all website changes and assist to verify forecast data. L. Edwards will share updates over the course of the summer with SDSU Extension cropping systems staff and with growers and partners at field day events (virtual or in person). L. Edwards will work with SDSU Extension staff and select soybean growers to ensure the website is clear to use and display is functional for most users. Extension articles, traditional media (print, radio and TV) and social media will be utilized to share the website enhancements and station updates as they occur. Some printed materials (such as postcards, brochures) will also be created for distribution at crop meetings, pesticide trainings, and field days all year round. L. Edwards will also coordinate with other North Central states who are measuring inversions, in a regional effort to create measurement standards for inversions for pesticide application and air quality. This informal coordinating group is currently being led by Dr. Mandy Bish from University of Missouri.

Progress Of Work

Updated February 3, 2022:

View uploaded report Word file

Updated February 3, 2022:
See attached report

Final Project Results

Benefit To Soybean Farmers

The addition of inversion measurements to the Mesonet will increase the availability of real-time inversion information for both private and commercial pesticide applicators in the soybean growing region of South Dakota. The Spray Tool has consistently high usage in the growing season, and both Mesonet and Extension staff receive requests for more locations to be added. This project will help fill a gap in central and north central SD where Mesonet inversion data was previously unavailable. The addition of weather forecasts to the Spray Tool will reduce the need to go to multiple sources for current and forecast weather and spray conditions.

The United Soybean Research Retention policy will display final reports with the project once completed but working files will be purged after three years. And financial information after seven years. All pertinent information is in the final report or if you want more information, please contact the project lead at your state soybean organization or principal investigator listed on the project.