University of Florida’s FAWN System Continues to Save the State’s Farmers Millions of Dollars and Gallons of Water

In *All, Agricultural Systems, Water Security by Ag is America

For the past 19 years, University of Florida’s FAWN system (The Florida Automated Weather Network) has provided weather decision-making data in agricultural regions. The system mimics the National Weather Service tools used in airports but repurposes them for farming areas. The system is aimed at helping farmers determine when they should irrigate their crops while saving millions of dollars and millions of gallons of water.

So, how does it work? Rick Lusher, the director of FAWN, likes to use their cold protection tools as an example.

By using FAWN, “growers can get an idea of what temperatures will be, and if it will get down to critical numbers,” Lusher said. “They can use that information to track down forecasts, which are revised every three hours, to decide if they will turn the water on.”

Growers can also use data from FAWN to determine the level of evaporation and whether the crops will continue to cool.  These tools can save growers at least two hours of irrigation.

“You can’t be everywhere at once, but FAWN gives us a lead on how to better manage our crops,” said James Shinn, a Florida citrus grower that uses FAWN for his crops. “FAWN gives us real life data on different sites throughout the state. I can’t tell you how beneficial this has been to our industry.”

For more information on how FAWN works and why Florida’s growers have used it for so many years, read more here.

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