During my visit to Commodity Classic in Orlando a couple weeks ago (seems longer by the way since I came home to 12-inches of snow) I had a conversation with Jeff Hamlin at Climate Corporation. Hamlin heads up the new product development for the company and has been involved since its inception.
Climate Corporation is that firm that offers insurance which pays you based on specific impacts to your potential crop yield during the season. They'll be selling their TWI product (for Total Weather Insurance) but Jeff was excited to talk about their new free product that's being offered for 2013.
If you visit www.climate.com you can sign up for access to field-level weather data that you can use to track your own crop. The system uses the same math and technology the company uses to figure yield impact for insurance payments. This free system would allow you to sign up, pick fields from a satellite map and get weather updates.
It's free this year, and offers some interesting data that can help you track specific field rainfall, temperature, growing degrees and more. "The farmer signs up then provides us with his actual planting date for that field and he'll start getting information," Hamlin explains.
It's a two-step process - you register on the site, pick the fields you want to monitor and then return and enter your planting date for each field. After that you can get that field-level information. The key is that it's free, which is an enhancement over some field-level monitoring programs. And it uses the precise weather data points that Climate Corp. relies on for its own insurance system. "Our reports show you the yield impacts for each field and use the data we use," he notes.
The company actually displays yield impacts day-by-day on the system, which gives you a picture of how the crop for each field is doing.
There are a host of new weather services out there at different price ranges - from free to fee-based. We'll delve into those in the next few weeks to offer you some useful links and information ahead of the season. We're tracking weather like never before and these services are going to be a big help.