Bennett Kireker grew up in New York. Just outside New York City is a sprawling rural area where various kinds of fruits and other produce are grown, and Bennett J Kireker was exposed to agriculture at a very young age. He remembers listening to community radio stations with his grandparents, waiting for the daily weather forecast, so that they could decide on the best time to spray fertilizer or to harvest fruits which could be spoiled by extreme weather conditions. Today, he writes about a technology which could help farmers and gardeners predict weather, and thereby make informed decisions about their crops.
For Bennett Kireker, New York is more than the bright lights of the Five Boroughs. Outside the city, farmers grow different kinds of crops, including the world-famous apples that gave New York City its nickname, “The Big Apple”. Most fruit crops are grown on family-owned and operated farms, and this allows local farmers to pay closer attention to their crops. In upstate New York and other agricultural areas, however, the farms can stretch for hundreds or even thousands of acres.
Just like big cities, certain areas of a large farm can have different weather patterns that make farming activities difficult to plan. In one part of a farm, fruits must be harvested before the rain could damage them, while on the other end, the trees might not be receiving enough water to support the production of fruit. Because of this, the age-old traditions of consulting farmers’ almanacs and checking the daily weather forecasts are no longer practical. Bennett Kireker believes that farming is now a 24/7 job, and part of that job involves monitoring the soil and weather conditions in different parts of the farm.
A few months ago, Bennett J Kireker read about a European agricultural company that manufactures and distributes mini-weather stations in many parts of the world, including India, Africa, and Southeast Asia. These areas are affected by heavy rains and typhoons during summer and fall, and the mini-weather stations help farmers plan their planting or harvest schedules. These weather stations are deployed in different parts of a farm or plantation; and using the local cellular network, they send out hourly weather updates to farmers in the area.
For Bennett Kireker, New York farmers can also benefit from this technology, especially during winter when cold snaps and frosts could damage crops and trees. These weather stations are a cost-efficient way of determining when to place and fire up smudge pots to protect plants from freezing over, thus preventing damage to trees and crops, and saving farmers an entire season’s worth of work.