If you type this question into Google, you’ll get information about the Spring Equinox which will happen this year on March 20 at 11:33 p.m. But if you ask a meteorologist when spring begins, they’ll tell “March 1.” That’s because they break the year into equal three-month chunks that mark the warmest, coldest, and transitional stretches of weather for a region. They say it is a more consistent method of defining the seasons and helps with record-keeping. But if you ask the USA National Phenology Network, you’ll get an answer based on what is happening in the world around us. For graziers, this might be the most important measure of spring.
“Phenology is nature’s calendar – when cherry trees bloom, when a robin builds its nest, and when leaves turn color in the fall.”
Phenology is the study of recurring plant and animal life cycles and the temperatures and climate conditions that affect those cycles. The USA National Phenology Network this data to develop a set of algorithms (think fancy math like what Google uses to figure out what you’re looking for) that can use the data from any weather station to tell us when spring, or plant growth begins.
Graziers can use this information to make better decisions about when to turn livestock out to pasture. The Network also provides forecasts for when insects and invasive plants reach life stages when monitoring and management are critical.
It’s a great service and it’s free. So head on over and take a look!
Thanks for reading!