Wheat Discoloring Reducing Harvest Payments and Assessing Crop Damage

KMOT-TV, out of Minot, North Dakota spoke to farmers in Williams County, ND, which is far Northwest North Dakota and part of the Baakan Oil Shale Boom region which includes Williston, about recent precipitation and the effect on the drum wheat.  Different varieties have different sensitivities to moisture and the wheat markets are sensitive on the color of the wheat.  Farmers can loose up to $1/bushel or $30/acre on discoloration.

There is poor National Weather Service radar coverage in the greater Williston area, the closest Dual Pol 88D radars are at Minot Air Force Base, Bismarck Airport, and Glagow, Montana.  While there is a older radar around Williston it does not have the most current technology.

Until funding is approved for better radar coverage in this sparsely populated area (more recently with oil shale boom), low altitude drones using CIR and normal photography can survey the fields before harvest, both to access losses but also to study meso- and micro-scale weather features in the area during the growing season.  Hopefully it can be used in research opportunities in 2015 and be more widespread in 2016 after FAA drone approvals.

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About Chuck Schoeneberger

Former forecaster at Meridian Environmental Technologies Inc (now a Interis Company), with a background in GIS and LiDAR, with other stints at GeoSpatial Services of Winona, MN and Aerometric (Now Quantum Spatial) of Sheboygan, WI. He is a weather technologist for public storm safety from a local to international level. LinkedIn Profile: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=25048141&trk=tab_pro His views are his own and not of his employer.
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