Open Sesame

Weather is a fickle thing. Many growers, especially in drier, wheat growing areas, spend all season praying for rain. Too often do dreams of rain turn into nightmares of either too much rain or often worse, hail.

Hail Storms move through TX & OK on May 10, 2017.

While there’s nothing you can do to stop the hail, you can improve the outcome by responding quickly. Depending on when hail impacts a crop, there may be time to replant or plant a different crop that can planted at a later date and handle a shorter season. Weather Decision Technologies’ (WDT) hail data has been used to help identify growers who lost a crop to hail, so that they can salvage part of the growing season by planting sesame seeds. The window to plant sesame seeds is generally small, so identifying the opportunity and streamlining the process is crucial. Growers, insurers, and seed companies can all leverage real-time hail data to kick off the necessary processes to help salvage the season from identifying a field that may have been damaged, filing/paying a claim, and sourcing seed.

Leveraging hail data along with other weather data (grower contact information, field statistics [size], available equipment, etc.) through an integrated GIS can help determine if a grower is in the appropriate window. Advanced forecast data can also help a grower determine if the field will even be workable. It would only add insult to injury to spend money on seed during a prolonged wet spell that renders fields unworkable for the remaining window when sesame seed could be planted.

Out of all the uses I’ve seen for hail data over my 11 years with WDT, this was always one of my favorite applications of our data. Most uses for our hail data revolves around paying claims and replacing a roof or a car. In these agriculture cases, insurance may or may not be involved, but I think it’s interesting to have the chance to salvage the growing season and make something out of nothing.

If you’d like to check out the hail data, it’s available via a couple different data services. My preference is via the REST endpoint of our ArcGIS Server infrastructure.

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