LMTool is a new climate service to help land managers make winter decisions in Southwest UK.
LMTool provides a three month winter weather outlook each month from the end of September to the end of March, and 14 day site specific forecasts.
As part of the EU funded project EUPORIAS, we are working closely with Clinton Devon Estates (CDE) and the National Farmers Union (NFU) to develop a working prototype (for example SMS text messages, an app, email or website) to provide seasonal winter weather forecasts (1-3 months ahead) in support of land management decision making, with a focus on cover crop planting, choice, and management in South West England. We are focusing on winter decision making because recent advances in long-range weather forecasting mean it is now often possible to provide advance notice of a colder and drier, or warmer and wetter winter than average conditions.
We believe that better information on future winter weather conditions will support farmers in making better land management decisions, especially related to cover crops and therefore help to justify the additional expenditure involved (seed, fuel, labour) and avoid loss of soil; preventing potential negative impacts on the environment and communities with nutrient leaching and soil on roads. Managing and protecting the soils is also a key cross compliance of the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP), and the forthcoming revised CAP will likely consider cover cropping as a Greening Option.
However, our current draft forecasts are designed to be useful for land management decisions in general, not just cover crops, so the information provided could be generally applicable to a broader range of land management activities. Therefore we are also aiming to apply the prototype to other weather-related land management decisions beyond just cover-crops (e.g. livestock management, forestry operations).LMTool