Improved Tracking of Agricultural Pests and Crop Growth, Illinois State Water Survey

Press Release

For Immediate Release March 8, 2004
Improved Tracking of Agricultural Pests and Crop Growth
Sources:   

Contact:   
Bob Scott - (217) 333-4966, Fax: (217) 244-0777, rwscott1@illinois.edu
Kelly Cook - (217) 333-6652, Fax: (217) 333-5245, kcook8@uiuc.edu
Eva Kingston - (217) 244-7270, Fax: (217) 333-6540, eva@sws.uiuc.edu

The agricultural community in Illinois now has a new Internet tool to track growth cycles of agricultural pests and Illinois crops using daily degree day totals. This collaborative effort between scientists from the Illinois State Water Survey (http://www.sws.uiuc.edu/), a division of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, and the Integrated Pest Management Program, Department of Crop Sciences (http://www.cropsci.uiuc.edu/) at the University of Illinois combines daily weather data and pest information to generate Web pages that show current degree day totals in Illinois associated with pests and crop development.

“Growth of pests and crops in Illinois can be tracked and projected by maintaining an account of the ‘heat’ accumulated during each growing season. This process involves comparison of daily maximum and minimum temperatures to a base temperature, specific for a particular pest or crop, above which development of the pest or crop will occur,” said Water Survey meteorologist Bob Scott. Computer algorithms were developed for tracking 30 agricultural pests and also determining growing degree day totals for corn and cold weather crops.

Degree day accumulations for some pests, regardless of their location in Illinois, have a specific calendar day when heat tracking begins, such as January 1 each year. Local accumulations for other pests and those for crops are tied to specific, user-provided events: first spring trapping of adult pests, sighting of insect eggs, planting date, etc. One- and two-week degree day projections, based on climate records at each site, also are included. The tool also produces maps of degree day totals and projections for the entire state where appropriate.

“This information is computed from data collected at 19 weather sites across Illinois and is specific for those locations,” said Scott.

”These data are valuable in helping users determine when to monitor their fields for approaching stages of pest development and with the subsequent operational decisions that follow,” added Kelly Cook, IPM entomologist, Department of Crop Sciences.

All degree day information is computed from data collected through the day just prior to the day each user accesses the system. In general, up-to-date information will be available by 4:00 a.m., seven days a week. The URLs are http://www.sws.uiuc.edu/warm/agdata.asp (pests and crops) and http://www.ipm.uiuc.edu/degreedays (pests).

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