Phenology in agriculture refers to the various plant development phases such as germination, flowering, and maturity. Tracking and predicting crop development stages has several practical applications in field crops and fruit trees such as determining the planting date to miss the average early fall frost, determining crop protection spray windows based on crop stage, defining irrigation and fertilization schedules, and predicting when a crop will be ready for harvest.
The combination of phenology and climate information can be a powerful tool for reducing risks associated with extreme climate events! The negative impact of heat stress may cause crop losses worth billions of dollars worldwide. Recent studies have demonstrated an increase in high-intensity rainfall in the Southeast. Producers are particularly interested in the timing of changing climate risks and need climate risk research to be closely associated with possible management solutions.
Our project is part of the i-Three Corps solution toolkit! Our main goal is to develop solutions to help producers quantify, understand, and mitigate production risk associated extreme climate events. We work with producers and extension faculty to refine the definition of climate risks such as dry spells, heat stress, and extreme rainfall for selected cropping systems; develop tools that integrate phenological models for main field crops with long-term climate data to evaluate risks during critical crop development stages; and provide solutions and strategies to mitigate them.