As I was walking around my village on a beautiful summer evening to cool off after a scorching hot day, I stopped to chat for a moment with my old neighbour, Francine, who has been a farmer for over 70 years. We talked about rain, fair weather , sweltering heat and weather that's not like it used to be. During the conversation, she said: "When I was little, my father always used to say, 'Francine, if you hear the train, it's going to rain'. I was touched by this memory filled with nostalgia, a testimony to the pragmatic but keen-eyed knowledge of meteorology that farmers have always had.
I could have explained to Francine that the CRA-W has just launched two new online platforms, agromet.be and bcgms.be, which means you can follow in real time weather conditions on your smartphone for the whole of Wallonia, or even use your pc to monitor key weather events during crops growing season as well as the crops growth through satellite images. These platforms feed into decision support tools (DST) to help decide when to apply late blight treatment, spread fertiliser on your fields or even monitor potential evapotranspiration to manage your field irrigation. But I decided not to say anything, so I took my leave and wished her good evening.
After a few steps, I couldn't help but smile when I heard a little blond boy on his pedal tractor shouting "Granny, I hope daddy hurries up and brings in the hay. I heard the train goes by" ...
For further information:
agromet.be, reference meteorological platform
bcgms.be, platform that provides agrometeorological indicators across the agricultural regions
Funding: CRA-W Moerman fund (agromet) and the Belgian science policy BELSPO (bcgms)