WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — A group of Purdue University
researchers has led the Useful to Usable climate initiative in launching two
free online tools to help farmers make crop decisions in variable weather
Useful to Usable, or U2U, aims to improve profitability and
longevity of U.S. farms amid a variable and changing climate.
The project, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s
National Institute of Food and Agriculture, is composed of a team of 50 faculty,
staff and students from nine universities who specialize in applied climatology,
crop modeling, agronomy, cyber technology, agricultural economics and other
associate professor of forestry and natural resources at Purdue, leads the
One of the recently launched tools, “AgClimate View,” offers
users access to historical climate and crop yield data for the Corn Belt,
including monthly temperature and precipitation, and plots corn and soybean
yield trends. It also allows users to compare climate and yield data from the
past 30 years.
The second tool, “Corn Growing Degree Day,” gives producers
the ability to track current and historical growing degree day accumulations.
Growing degree days are a measure of heat accumulation that helps farmers
predict plant development rates and maturity dates.
This tool also offers information to help farmers assess
spring and fall frost risk and make planting, harvest and seed-selection
decisions. It integrates corn development stages with weather and climate data
and allows farmers to find location-specific information.
“We’re excited to announce the launch of our first of
several decision-support tools,” Prokopy said. “Our social science research on
the front end helped our team create easy-to-use tools that make climate data
accessible and useful to the agricultural community.
“We’d like to think we are demystifying climate data one
user at a time and hope producers will use the information to make better
decisions and ultimately increase yields with minimal environmental
Both tools are designed for crop producers and agricultural
advisers in the north central region of the U.S., as well as Kentucky and
Tennessee. They can be found on the U2U website at www.agclimate4u.org.
Other U2U team members from Purdue who helped develop the
apps are agricultural economists Otto
Doering and Ben
Gramig ; Indiana State Climatologist Dev Niyogi; Carol Song, director of
scientific solutions for Information Technology at Purdue; and U2U project
manager Melissa Widhalm.