The Network for Environment and Weather Awareness (NEWA) mesonet provides pest and disease forecasts to farmers
CALS Impact Statement
Since 1996, NEWA has operated and maintained a weather station mesonet and website with funding support from the New York state Integrated Pest Management Program (IPMP.} NEWA provides pest and disease forecasts to growers in New York developed from research in plant disease epidemiology and arthropod pest phenology. There are now 829 users in the NEWA database compared to the 512 users in 2005. As a result of free access since 2002, NEWA usage is up over 400 percent compared to 2001. NEWA information delivery is multiplied via dissemination in Cornell Cooperative Extension Educator and private consultant newsletters and crop updates. Recent improvements to the NEWA website spanned apple, tomato and potato pest forecast model information and a comprehensive NEWA Site Map was written. New in 2006, the Northeast Regional Climate Center prepared daily degree day forecasts for various base temperatures based on NWS max/min temperature forecasts. The NEWA network transitioned to RainWise, Inc. instruments and installed, tested and supported their less expensive wireless weather station plus software for Internet delivery of data to the NEWA network. NEWA successfully expanded the mesonet into eastern New York in collaboration with seven apple growers.
As applied IPM research advanced into the area of pest and disease forecasting, farmers were unable to apply the new forecasting and risk-predicting models on their farms without weather monitoring equipment and computer models. Application of weather-based pest risk models has shown that farmers of high-risk and high-value crops, such as onions, potatoes, grapes, and apples can save up to half of their calendar-based sprays when switching to IPM forecasting-based sprays; in some cases saving hundreds of thousands of dollars in input costs. NEWA was developed to address the need of farmers to access weather information and computer models to support IPM practice. The mesonet was developed primarily in western New York and needed to be expanded into eastern New York. The weather station manufacturer supplying instruments for the NEWA mesonet stopped manufacturing them in 2003, web-based technology advanced beyond the text-file based NEWA server, and the availability of complex simulation models, such as DMCast for grapevine downy mildew, all combined to necessitate several upgrades for the NEWA mesonet.
The NEWA mesonet was established in 1996 in the Lake Erie, Lake Ontario and Finger Lakes regions. Carroll secured grant funding from two sources and began NEWA mesonet expansion into eastern NY apple orchards. NEWA now includes 40 weather instruments from which weather data (temperature, relative humidity, precipitation, leaf wetness, etc.) are downloaded daily and displayed on the NEWA website. The NEWA network installed, tested and supported RainWise, Inc. wireless weather instruments and their software for data delivery to NEWA via Internet. NEWA uses the collected weather data to compute IPM risk predictions which are posted on the website. 2006 improvements to the NEWA website spanned apple, tomato and potato pest forecast model information. A comprehensive NEWA Site Map was written, based on recommendations from a website plan lead by Spider Graphics. The Northeast Regional Climate Center (NRCC) prepared daily degree day forecasts for several base temperatures using National Weather Service forecasted max/min temperatures. A weather database using NEWA data, developed in the Plant Pathology Department, Geneva, to run the grapevine downy mildew model DMCast, was used to run a Degree Day Calculator and an expert system Apple Pest Degree Day Calculator. In order to fully realize the potential of a database system, collaboration began with NRCC to change the NEWA text-file system to a database, housed at the NRCC.
NEWA provides IPM forecasts to growers in New York developed from research in plant disease epidemiology and arthropod pest phenology. As a result of free access since 2002, NEWA usage is up over 400 percent in 2006 compared to 2001. NEWA information delivery is multiplied via Cornell Cooperative Extension Educator and private consultant newsletters, crop updates and pest alerts. Application of weather-based pest risk models allows farmers of high risk and high value crops such as onions, potatoes, grapes, and apples to save up to half of their calendar-based sprays when switching to IPM forecasting-based sprays; in some cases saving hundreds of thousands of dollars in input costs. NEWA successfully expanded into Eastern NY in collaboration with seven apple growers. The NEWA network was successful in sourcing another weather instrument manufacturer, RainWise, Inc., who also developed NEWA-compatible software for Internet delivery of data. RainWise is proving to be an important collaborator and other possibilities for collecting and delivering data from their instruments are being investigated. The NEWA website was thoroughly mapped and is ready for a complete overhaul and NEWA data is being placed in a database housed and maintained at the Northeast Regional Climate Center. These two factors combine to pave the way for significant improvements to NEWA and advancement of IPM for New York farmers.
funding source description
John Gibbons (Ontario County Cornell Cooperative Extension)
Cheryl TenEyck (NYS IPM Program)
Curt Petzoldt (NYS IPM Program)
Timothy Weigle (NYS IPM Program)
Kevin Iungerman (NE NY Fruit Program, Cornell Cooperative Extension)
Michael Fargione (Hudson Valley Fruit Program, Cornell Cooperative Extension)
Robert Seem (Department of Plant Pathology, Geneva)