Soil forecasting project seeks survey input for app development

URBANA, Ill. – For farmers and agribusiness leaders, accessing reliable and timely soil condition data can drive important soil management decisions that affect both short- and long-term production success.  

A research collaboration between University of Illinois and University of Nebraska-Lincoln is exploring development of a web-based application that would forecast localized soil moisture content and temperature conditions for up to 10 days in advance. 

The proposed tool would aggregate daily Illinois soil temperature and soil moisture data with the National Water Model and NOAA weather forecasts to deliver updated, 10-day soil condition forecasts for any location in Illinois, down to a resolution of 0.4 square mile – or roughly 250-acre grids.  

Past applications developed to improve timely decision-making for the agriculture industry include the Growing Degree Day Calculator and Pest Degree Day Calculator. Based on weather and climate data collections through Illinois State Water Survey’s Water and Atmospheric Resources Monitoring Program, these two apps have been extensively used throughout the growing season by farmers, horticulturalists, and other agriculture professionals. 

Before development of the soil forecasting tool begins, the research group is looking for input from Illinois farmers and ag professionals to assess interest levels and determine how the forecasting tool could improve their ability to make timely soil management decisions.  

To participate, complete a short, five-question survey at go.illinois.edu/SoilForecastToolsSurvey

ABOUT EXTENSION: Illinois Extension leads public outreach for University of Illinois by translating research into action plans that allow Illinois families, businesses, and community leaders to solve problems, make informed decisions, and adapt to changes and opportunities.

SOURCE: Doug Gucker, Illinois Extension Local Foods System Small Farm Educator