A collaboration between the University of Missouri and North Central Missouri College has resulted in a new weather station at NCMC’s Elizabeth and Arthur Barton Farm at Trenton.
Phil and Chris Hoffman retired owners of the Hoffman & Reed grain elevator in Trenton, began the movement for the weather station after attending the annual Crop Management Conference, where MU Extension state climatologist Pat Guinan spoke.
“The weather station helps row crop farmers get timely information for planting and spraying,” said Chris Hoffman. “We wanted to help support our agriculture community just as they have supported us over the years.” Chris serves on NCMC’s board of trustees. Phil serves on the advisory board of MU’s Thompson Research Center in Grundy County. The brothers talked with Rustin Jumps, who manages the NCMC teaching farm. Jumps saw an opportunity for a partnership and contacted Guinan and John Travlos, co-manager of the Missouri Mesonet, a statewide weather station network.
Missouri Mesonet’s 39 stations record weather data for the agriculture community, the National Weather Service, and numerous research projects.
Farmers and commercial spray applicators use real-time wind speed and direction data from the network to aid in decision-making. The Trenton station will soon provide air temperature data at different heights to monitor for low-level surface temperature inversions that may cause crop damage related to farm chemical applications. It is the only station in the network with an extra wind sensor at 30 feet (10 meters) to monitor adverse weather for storm tracking.
In addition to recording 2- and 4-inch bare soil temperatures, the Trenton station also will record 6-inch soil temperatures under soybean residue. This will help farmers with decisions on fall nitrogen application. Faculty and students in NCMC’s agriculture program will make use of the station.
National Weather Service staff helped site the station, said Travlos. Jumps and the Hoffmans agree that the college demonstration farm was the perfect location in Grundy County, said Chris Hoffman.
The Missouri Mesonet has been operated since 1992 by the MU Extension Commercial Agriculture Program and the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resource, with support from the Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council.