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Farmers and the Long-Range Weather Forecast


A better July?Farming weather is always one of the hottest topics in the agricultural sector. Farmers constantly need to stay on top of changing conditions in a bid to manage their crops and animals as effectively as possible and plan for contingencies should the worst occur. The industry is notorious for its ‘surprise’ factors and bad weather can lead to an entire crop being lost. Most UK farmers are still reeling from the bad weather of the past year, which saw summer crops rained into oblivion and lambing season this spring affected by late snows.

Many farmers will have their own methods and techniques for predicting long-range weather trends, but for those who prefer a technological input, the internet is a great place to look. The long-range farming weather forecast is updated every month, using data models from the NCEP. The figures are then run through complex modelling systems and customised software to predict future weather patterns as accurately as possible. Even though this is the cutting-edge of weather forecasting, the science is still largely experimental, as forecasting a month ahead is still a new field and one ripe for further development.

This summer was predicted to be a ‘mixed’ season, although temperatures so far have broadly remained at the average and rainfall has also been in line – or just above – the norm for this time of year. June was expected to start fine, but unsettled periods were forecast for the month as a whole. July will likely have lower pressure than average across the country, which will lead to it being a wet month. Regional variations in weather are expected, however and the south and east may well buck the trend. Again, temperatures are expected to remain broadly in line with the norm for the season.

For August, it looks as though pressure will continue to be higher than average, particularly in the north. However, it will be lower than the average as you move further south. This means that the north will likely be drier than usual and the south will be wetter than usual.

In the meantime, the daily, weekly and updated long-term forecasts are still the best places to keep up to date with the latest weather and its impacts on the farming community. There are various apps for checking conditions on the go. For farmers looking to hedge their risks, various schemes are available to help manage risk. An experienced business adviser can offer valuable guidance and suggestions about hedging products and services.

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