What is Phenology?

Have you noticed how everything in the natural world seems to operate on a schedule? Indeed, “phenology” is the study of how these naturally occurring biological rhythms interact and influence each other.

Learning about current changes, challenges, and phenology facts can help you be a better grower, ag marketer, or ag industry leader.

Partner with DTN and the Smart Trap system. Get accurate real-time pest counts so you can time your eradication efforts with precision and efficiency. Contact us today to discover how technology and integrated software can advance your agriculture operation.

 

Phenology: An Intricate Web Of Precise Timing, Naturally

Nature comes equipped with all the notifications needed to ensure life cycles continue forward, even in the face of a changing climate and human manipulation. 

How do deciduous trees know when to change color every fall? Phenology tells us that trees respond to changes in day length. When the number of sunlight hours decreases, green leaves produce less chlorophyll (the pigment that turns green and helps leaves make sugars from sunlight), uncovering carotenoids in leaves. 

This shift in the leaves’ chemical balance causes the brilliant reds and oranges that usher in the fall harvest season.

How do spring insects know when to immerge? Day length and temperature may be governing pest emergence factors. Plus, different insect species evolve to start their springtime activity when leaves, flowering buds, or other food sources become plentiful. 

When any environmental shift happens, all life forms affected change their patterns too. When hotter weather lengthens growing seasons, you may notice your seasonal allergies picking up earlier in the spring or lasting longer in the fall.

You may also notice more pests in your field, impacting your planting, growing, or harvesting operations. Climate warming may have increased or decreased yields, depending on how you’ve responded to the weather in your region.

 

Warmer Temperatures, More Pests

If you grow in a traditionally cooler climate, you might have enjoyed fewer pests in decades past. Typically, hard winter freezes will eliminate or push back hordes of native and invasive pest species. Global warming means these natural pest controls don’t work as well as they used to.

Think of the classic mosquito. When winters last longer, mosquito quantities may decrease in the summer months. The same could be said for common agricultural pests like locusts, Japanese beetles, Mormon crickets, corn rootworm, and stink bugs.

Warmer temps can affect pollinator populations too. Ensuring you have friendly fields for the insects that help you thrive is also a key aspect of phenology. Timing your additives to benefit “good” insects is easier when working from a current and accurate phenological model.

 

Target Your Pest Control With More Precise Data

Of course, spraying your fields periodically during the growing season can help reduce pests and increase yields. Indiscriminate pest control methods can also play havoc on budgets as well as the environment.

But, how do you ensure your pest control methods stay on your plants, or that you apply them when pest populations peak?

Having access to accurate weather, climate, and pest data can help every grower stay ahead of each season’s phenology curve. Plus, using integrated data analysis platforms boosts your ability to predict seasonal pest surges.

There are two prongs to more precise pest control:

Pest quantity data and weather forecast data (short term, long term, regional, and in-field reports)

Using tools like the Smart Trap system from DTN offers several pest-control advantages. Here’s how having accurate pest data can help you in field management:

  • Pest traps feature easy set-up and deployment anywhere in your growing areas, so you can easily monitor changing pest concentrations from acre to acre.
  • Set pest threshold alarms you can receive on your mobile device or laptop so that you can respond with pest mitigation in-the-moment.
  • Track seasonal pest trends against phenological models so you can stay ahead of the climate change curve 
  • Get adaptable, easy-to-read reports so that you have the best information to make the wisest decisions for the entire growing season.

Gaining more precise weather forecasts and long-term climate trends in your region can also help you use phenology to your advantage in-field. 

Through the DTN agricultural platforms, farmers can gain precise information for better field management. Accurate, integrated data on precipitation, seasonal warming, and cooling trends, as well as severe weather, is part of a comprehensive seasonal picture of resource allocation for increased yield.

 

Growers Must View Themselves As Part Of The Phenological Web

Humans have surely and significantly impacted our climate since the dawn of industrialization. It’s crucial to remember that even though humans have influenced the global environment, everyone remains part of the penological web each year.

No individual will change the path of a storm or ward off floods or insect plagues. Growers must adapt and respond just as insects and plant species do to a changing climate. It’s paramount to have all the phenological data you can collect to be a profitable and responsible producer.

Further, you can reduce your environmental impact through precision growing and pest control. Approaching your fields with a deeper observation of phenological models helps you inject sustainability into your operation.

 
Farmer standing in cornfield

DTN Is Your Partner For Using Phenology To Your Advantage

Nature has profound wisdom, even when humans manage to tinker with climate on a large scale. Adaptability has always been the driving force in agricultural success or failure. 

Finding and using precision tools to help you leverage data to make sound farming decisions is your best hope to triumph in a wildly changing world. 

DTN stays at the leading edge of equipment, software, and integration for the agricultural industry. Growers and producers of any size or scale can benefit from a DTN partnership.

Visit our website today to learn more about how the Smart Trap platform can help you dominate pests this season and every season. Reach out, and the DTN team will be in touch to craft a solution strategy that meets your needs and exceeds your expectations.