Once soils begin to dry up, the task for those who farm considerable acreage will be finding spots that are dry enough to work, and laying out a plan that lets them keep equipment moving. If you're spread over 30 or 40 miles, even if you have similar soil types across your acreage, it may mean tracking rainfall from place to place to see if you can work on the north farm if you got rained out at the south farm, because it didn't rain at the north farm.
Typically, that's meant hopping in the pickup and driving the route of your farms, determining which areas got more rain from a spring thunderstorm than other areas. Maybe that wasn't so bad at $2 gas, but at $4 gas and nearly $4 diesel fuel, it can be expensive to make a trip to check out each of your fields.
Technology has produced an economical alternative, called My Rain Scout. It uses Doppler radar to estimate rainfall at various locations that are important to you, and then send you daily summaries as an email. You may find out it rained at the north farm, so there's no need driving up there to check, without ever leaving your office.
"I'm trying out the service this year because we're spread over a long distance and we sometimes get into those kinds of situations," says Kerry Graves, Greene County. "We may get rained out where we are, but possible be able to work somewhere else. In the past, the only way to know for sure how much rain we received at the other location was drive there. If this service is effective, I'll know how much rain fell there without even being there."
The reports are actually generated by a company called MyRianReport.com. They arrive at the information using a patented process known as RainWave. Doppler radar information is only one of the tools they use to arrive at rainfall data for specific locations.
Beck's Hybrids, Atlanta, Ind., is the exclusive provider for this service in Indiana, Illinois, Iowa and parts of Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio and Kentucky through an agreement made with MyRainReport.com. However, Ashley Woodward of Beck's Hybrids says anyone can sign up for the service. It's not limited to Beck's customers. There are a few perks for Beck's elite, President Club members related to the service this year. Otherwise, sign-up is he same for customers and non-customers alike.
The charge is a $10 one time set-up fee per location, plus $15 per month for daily reports plus a monthly report. A report is only issued if measurable rain is detected during a 24-hour period. The timing is geared so that you can typically have an email waiting for you in the morning, detailing activity over the past 24 hours.