Agrimetrics have investigated the agricultural applications of a long term weather prediction called Seasonal Climate Forecasting, provided by the firm Weather Logistics
These forecasts were used to inform whether a grower should have sown a winter crop in 2018 and 2019, in one of 20 locations throughout the UK. Winter cereals develop their tolerance to cold over time in a process called hardening; during this time, newly sown crops can be killed or damaged by freezing temperatures. Therefore, crops should ideally be sown preceding a period of relatively mild conditions to ensure a) their survival and b) a worthwhile yield.
We concluded that Seasonal Forecasts have reached a level of accuracy whereby they could provide effective guidance for growers in this scenario. However, working with these forecasts is not straightforward – they will need to be transformed into a more usable format before their value can be realised by farm decision makers.