When it comes to weather forecasts, no one is more interested than a farmer. That's why Mike McClellan, owner of the Mobile Weather Team based in Washington, looks to do for agriculture what he's done for professional golf tournaments.
When it comes to weather forecasts, no one is more interested than a farmer.
That's why Mike McClellan, owner of the Mobile Weather Team based in Washington, looks to do for agriculture what he's done for professional golf tournaments.
A meteorologist who left WMBD-TV in 1999, McClellan tracked weather at major PGA tournaments across the country before selling that portion of the business in 2008. While McClellan and two other meteorologists still cover the European PGA scene, he wants to "integrate more ag things to the business."
"I think farmers today are barraged with weather information, but I would like to make a large impact on the central Illinois ag scene," said McClellan, adding he expects to soon add farm features to his mobileweather.com Web site.
Earlier this month, McClellan gave a weather seminar for farmers at an East Peoria hotel.
"I try to go out 12 months. I'm not really forecasting. I try to give them trends and an outlook," he said.
"I don't latch onto lunar or solar cycles, although I do take some of that into consideration. I look at what's been going on around the globe weather-wise and relate it to what's going on now," he said.
"I'm projecting a cool and wet spring while this summer won't be as wet as last year," said McClellan, noting that last summer was the second-wettest on record for Illinois.
"It should be a good growing year. Farmers shouldn't face many issues except for getting their crop in the ground."
That's the same outlook Gail Martell provides for the New York-based Storm Exchange, an online weather source (at www.stormx.com).
"I see planting troubles in the Midwest again this year. The wetness factor may come to bear again," said Martell, the Exchange's senior agriculture analyst.
Martell, who is based in Milwaukee, said her next monthly outlook, to be posted later this week, will focus on possible problems facing wheat production in North America.
"It's still dry in Kansas. Now they absolutely have to have rain. Record dry conditions in Alberta, Canada, could impact on canola and wheat production there," she said.
"I try to focus on what people in agriculture are most interested in," said Martell.
Knowing about the weather isn't just a matter of interest to the farmer, said Patrick Kirchhofer, manager of the Peoria County Farm Bureau.
"It's our business," he said.
Steve Tarter can be reached at (309) 686-3260 or email@example.com.