Weather station networks have been designed to provide real-time local weather information for a variety of uses, including pesticide spraying risk, burning, crop and pasture growth parameters and weather hazards.
Weather station networks are now found in Western Australia, South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria.The expansion of weather station networks has been enabled by development of new communication and data storage technology and, while they have often had different reasons for being set up, all can provide valuable local weather data for growers.

Key points:

  • Improvements in communication and data storage technology have allowed the expansion and use of weather stations across the landscape.
  • Australian weather station networks all started for different reasons but have many similarities and continue to expand the functions and types of data they gather.
  • While weather station network data helps with spray planning, it is a legal requirement to measure and record meteorological data at the spray location during application.

The team from the Mid-North Mesonet having successfully installed another weather station to help better measure local weather conditions for all agricultural enterprises in SA’s Mid North.

A typical weather station that makes up the 175 DPIRD stations delivering better local meteorological data to WA grain growers. This network also increases the accuracy of the Bureau of Meteorology’s weather predictions for south-western WA.
Mid North Mesonet – South Australia

South Australia’s first Mesonet consists of 40 weather stations in the Mid North, northern Adelaide Plains and northern Yorke Peninsula. The network provides growers with a much better idea of local meteorological conditions.
The impetus for this network has been crop damage, especially in the high-value grapevine areas, resulting from spray drift, with annual losses in value of production and reduced market access estimated at $178 million. (https://agex.org.au/project/mid-north-mesonet/)
Weather stations are located at specific sites 14 to 17 kilometres apart. These were selected after studying 10 years of weather patterns to give the best indicators of hazardous surface temperature inversions. The weather stations consist of a 10-metre tower measuring:

  • Wind speed at 2m and 10m;
  • Temperature at 1.25m, 3.2m and 10m; and
  • Rainfall, relative humidity, soil moisture, solar radiation and barometric pressure.

The data is processed at each station on an ‘internet of things’ (IoT) gateway, where it is then sent to the server via the mobile phone network. The data is used to accurately calculate inversion risk and the grass fire index. The outputs are displayed online as 10-minute averages and is accessed through the website: https://midnorthmesonet.taindata.com/

The project has been made possible through funding by Primary Industries and Regions SA and is delivered by the Ag Excellence Alliance™.
Birchip Cropping Group shared data platform project

The Birchip Cropping Group (BCG) decided its members needed to be given experience in sharing data, and weather data was considered the best place to start.
At the time of writing BCG has 110 weather stations and 45 soil moisture probes with its members, who use the DataFarmer™ website https://www.datafarmer.com.au/ to store and access their weather data.
The first round of the project used the Wimmera-Mallee pipeline wifi for its network connection, while the second roll-out of weather stations and moisture probes used BaseStation® and Blue Node® https://smartelements.io/ to transfer data via the 3G network.
Currently the one-in-five BCG members who are involved in this program are those farmers are interested in tech solutions and looking for opportunities from technology.
Goanna Ag: a private NSW company

Goanna Ag has 70 weather stations between Lockhart and Moree in NSW on