Farmers set up their own weather station network as it is more accurate than official forecast

Farmers have set up their own weather monitoring network as they believe it gives a more accurate picture of rainfall and wind speed than the official forecast.

Dozens of farms across the country have joined the government-funded Cosmos Initiative, whereby they put up weather stations on their land, connect them to the internet and their rainfall, sunshine and wind speed are recorded.


Andrew Blenkiron, who manages the Euston Estate in Suffolk, said the information he gets is far more targeted and accurate than the national forecast, and allows the farm to plan for floods and dry periods.


He told The Telegraph: “The general picture we get from forecasters is on a county or regional level when we really need to know what is falling on our actual fields. We have a network of weather stations around the farm that we can tap into via our computer to find out what’s happening in real time.


“We get a far more accurate local picture of what’s happening in our own microclimate. We share information with two or three of our neighbours to find out what is happening over a slightly wider area. What happens on our farm will end up moving over to the neighbouring farms a lot of the time."


Mr Blenkiron believes that working with the weather on a hyper-local scale can save the farm money as well as reduce its carbon footprint and protect the local environment.


He explained: “The key to everything that we do is work with what we are going to get and better target our resources. “It’s in its infancy but we are very much targeting the use of this technology to improve our carbon footprint, make sure the resources that we are applying aren’t applying at the wrong periods of time - we won’t be putting fertiliser on that will get washed into rivers when there will be heavy rain. We can also save water. We are seeing quantifiable benefits already even though the project is in its infancy.”


The Centre for Ecology and Hydrology is using the data provided by farmers for environmental research, including predicting more accurate meteorological models, ways to save water and better models of greenhouse gas emissions from soils.


Kevin and Matthew Attwood, a father and son who run Down Court farm in Kent, also have their own weather station.


They told the BBC's Farming Today: "It's very small, it's mounted on a pole, it has a rain gauge to measure the rain, there's a wind gauge and a little thermometer. We have a mobile connection to apps on our mobile phones.


"It's very important to us both to look at it every morning to see what has been going on overnight. We are finding more farmers who have got them, they're on the apps, we can talk to each other about the weather on their farm."


Source: The Telegraph