Horizon Point


Explanation of Horizon Point Report


The top of the report lists the date on which the report was generated and the specific location for which the report was generated. Because you are able to subscribe to receive reports for several locations, each report contains the name you specified for individual fields. Using unique, descriptive names for your fields allows for easy recognition of multiple fields.

Information Found on All Reports

Precipitation Data and Forecast
This table contains 4 days of historical information, and the forecast for today and the next 3 days. There are 3 potential sources for precipitation amounts and 1 source for probability of precipitation.

Probability (%)
This information is from the National Weather Service and is the greater of two 12-hour probability of precipitation forecasts that cover the 24 hour period beginning at 7:00 a.m. of the date listed. The forecasts are unique for an approximately 20 mile square grid.

The probability of precipitation (POP) is an estimate of the chance of precipitation falling anywhere in the forecast region. If it rains anywhere in the grid, the probability has come true. For example, if the POP is 70%, it means that given the weather situation at the time of the forecast 70% of the time it is expected to have some type of precipitation in the grid. It does not mean that the entire grid will get precipitation 70% of the time or that any particular location within the grid will get precipitation 70% of the time.

Nearest weather station
The report will provide precipitation data for the MU Agricultural Weather Station nearest your field. Different subscribers will have different location names in this line, depending on which Agricultural Weather Station is nearest to their specified location. This information, while not specific to your field, is a measured amount of rainfall using accurate instruments that can give a perspective of the amount of rain that fell in your region. In the absence of information in the NWS and At Farm rows, it is used by the Rainfall Needed for Runoff Advisory.

The rainfall reported is for the period starting at 6 a.m. the date listed to 6 a.m. on the next day. This adjustment from the traditional midnight to midnight precipitation quantity was made to the report so that it could be comparable to the National Weather Service (NWS) estimate.

The historical precipitation quantity (blue shaded columns) is obtained from the National Weather Service (NWS) for the previous four days. It is provided on approximately a 17 mile square grid by using all available data from radar and actual ground measurements throughout the state.

The precipitation quantity forecast for today and the next 3 days (yellow and pink columns) is from the NWS . The forecast is given on a 17 mile square grid.

Both the historical precipitation and forecast precipitation estimates provided by the NWS cover a 24 hour period beginning in the early morning (6:00/7:00 a.m.) on the day listed.

At Farm
The manager of any Horizon Point account can enter the rainfall that they have measured at their location. The purpose of having this feature is so that any advisories that use historical rainfall (estimated rainfall needed for runoff) have the most accurate information. It also can serve as a place to store your rainfall events so that your weather related information is easily found.

If you enter information into your report, the number will show up in the "At Farm" row and be used in generating advisories. If you do not enter information, "na," meaning "not available," will appear in that row.

Remember that the precipitation in the NWS row is the precipitation that is obtained for the latitude and longitude that you specified when you subscribed to Horizon Point. The presence of "na" in the "At Farm" row does not mean that you have no location specific precipitation estimate. It only means that you have not entered any information.

To enter measured precipitation into your report go to the Horizon Point website and login to the section entitled "If you have already created a user account" using the username and password that you specified when you first subscribed. Then choose the specific location for which you have rainfall data (note: some subscribers have only one location while others have several. The list of all locations you have will appear.). At the location page, click on "Add location rainfall data" and fill in the data fields to submit your information.

Temperature Data and Forecast

Air Max and Air Min (°F)
Historical data is derived from the nearest weather station. It is taken from hourly temperature measurements at each station.

The forecasted information is from the National Weather Service and is given on a approximately a 17 mile grid. The forecasted maximum temperature is given for a time period from approximately 8:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. on the day listed. The forecasted minimum temperature for a day is given for a time period from approximately 8:00 p.m. on the previous day to approximately 9:00 a.m. on the day listed.

Soil Temp 2" (°F)
This soil temperature is estimated for your latitude from the soil temperature probes at the MU Agricultural Weather Stations. This is not necessarily the nearest weather station to your field. Studies indicate that the weather station at the same latitude within Missouri, even if further than the nearest weather station, has the best estimates of soil temperature. The estimates are for the 24-hour period on the date shown on the report.

Estimated Rainfall needed for Runoff

The estimated rainfall needed for runoff is a mandatory component of each subscriber's report. Horizon Point was initially funded by the Environmental Protection Agency as a pilot project to assist with decisions regarding land application of nutrients. The hope is that land managers will not apply nutrients prior to a rain event if they have good information that the nutrients would runoff. Such decisions would save the farmer money because nutrients applied would be available to the crops and protect water quality because agricultural inputs would not enter rivers and lakes.

The current report contains rows for several types of ground cover. Eventually, the manager of the Horizon Point account will be able to choose only the types of ground cover that they want to get the estimates for only those types of ground cover.

The rainfall needed for runoff estimate is obtained by using hydrologic models of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. The model uses the rainfall for the last 4 days, the soil hydrologic group and the soil cover to estimate how much rain would have to fall before runoff from the field begins. This number is merely an estimate that can not take into account all factors. For example: hard, driving rains will runoff with less precipitation than estimated; or soil that is saturated and experiencing very little evapotransporation will have runoff before the amount predicted.

Whenever a field was entered into Horizon Point, a soil hydrologic group was specified by the user or selected by administrators in the Commercial Agriculture Horizon Point Program. The estimated rainfall needed for runoff is dependent upon this selection. Occasionally fields will have more than one soil hydrologic group. In such instances, the soil hydrologic group where nutrients are most likely to be applied (where crops are planted or near streams) should be chosen.

Information Selected by the User to Appear on their Report

Wind Forecast
The wind speed and direction forecast is obtained from the National Weather Service on approximately a three mile grid. The forecasts are for today and the next two days in 3-hour increments. As noted in the footnote, the wind direction is "blowing from."

Spring Planting and Fall Fertilizer Soil Temperature Charts
During the spring, a chart of soil temperature at the 2 inch depth is available. During the fall a chart of soil temperature at the 6 inch depth is available. This soil temperature is estimated for your latitude from the soil temperature probes at the MU Agricultural Weather Stations.

The soil temperature chart consists of a blue line of mean soil temperature and a red line of this year's soil temperature. The blue mean line is for as many years of data as are available for the agricultural weather station being used. The name of the station being used is in the graph heading. In order to give an indication of the trend in soil temperatures, the graph is for 2 weeks prior to the date of the report to 2 weeks into the future. The graph also indicates the critical decision points by using horizontal gray bars to indicate frozen soil and minimum planting temperatures.

Weed Scouting Aid
This information should be used as a general guide to aid in weed scouting and weed management decisions. These calculations are based on the ambient air degree days accumulated since January 1. Additional factors, such as the soil type, amount of rainfall received, and the presence of crop residue will have a significant impact on the likelihood of weed emergence in a given situation.

The weed scouting aid is composed of 2 sections. The first section lists weeds that could have emerged in your area already depending on the number of growing degree days that have occurred for your area. Particular attention should be given to these weeds while scouting. The names of individual weed species will stay on the report until it is expected that a majority of that species has emerged, and then they will be removed.

The second section estimates when weeds will emerge in your area based on the actual number of growing degree days that has occurred and the normal number of growing degree days that is expected to occur in the future. The emergence date indicates when 10% of the weeds of that species are expected to have emerged.

After all the weed species have emerged, the weed scouting section will not appear on reports even if the subscriber has selected to receive them.

Weeds listed in the report are linked to pictures of the emerging weeds to aid you in identification of the weeds.

Design Storm Alert System (DSAS)
The DSAS is a web-based monitoring system tracking precipitation accumulation across Missouri. DSAS is updated daily and reports which counties have met or exceeded various design storm criteria. A design storm is the amount of rain for which a structure was designed.
The current DSAS is focused on managing open/uncovered storages used for manure and domestic wastewater. http://agebb.missouri.edu/weather/designstorm/

Grain Drying
The Horizon Point Grain Drying Report predicts the equilibrium moisture content that would be reached for a crop exposed to ambient air conditions hourly throughout the day. The equilibrium moisture content is the moisture content possible assuming the crop is exposed to the air for a long enough period of time. The equilibrium moisture content varies by crop type. The time required to reach the equilibrium moisture content depends upon the volume of air moved through the crop.

Natural air drying in Missouri will eventually reduce the moisture of a stored crop below the market moisture content of the crop. Over-drying removes saleable moisture and reduces the total weight of the crop. The goal of the drying process is to reduce the entire bin to a uniform moisture content suitable for short-term storage and without drying charges deducted at time of sale.

Rainfall Index Monitor
The Rainfall Index Monitor is for tracking rainfall amounts estimated by the NWS on approximately a 17 mile square grid using radar and actual ground measurements throughout the state. Long term average rainfall amounts are calculated for two month intervals based on data beginning in 1948. Accumulated rainfall is the amount of rainfall that has occurred during the current year's two month interval. The index is the percentage of the long term average that has occurred for the interval.

This report is specifically designed to aid in understanding the rainfall index used by the USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA) for its' Pasture, Rangeland and Forage (PRF) Insurance program. The PRF gridpoint is based on a specific latitude and longitude associated with gridded rainfall estimates from the NWS.

Animal Stress Indices
Livestock advisories are made on the basis of the expected temperature and humidities. High humidities associated with warm temperatures produce heat stress for animals. The danger category indicates stress to animals in confinement. Attention should be given for proper ventilation and minimal handling or transportation of livestock. The emergency category indicates that every means available should be used to reduce the heat stress on the animal (shade, ventilation, plenty of drinking water, etc.) DURING THE EMERGENCY PERIOD THERE IS A HIGH RISK OF DEATH.

Insect Advisories
Insect scouting is facilitated by several factors. Information from capture stations around the state are combined with temperature to estimate the stage of insect development. The insect advisories provide the dates different stages of development are expected to be reached given weather forecasts and climatological norms. The critical scouting and management period is noted on the report.

For more information about the Horizon Point system,
contact us at 573-884-6311 or

PRECISE information
PROCESSED by MU Extension
for better MANAGEMENT decisions
MU Commercial Agriculture
MU Integrated Pest Management
North Central Risk Management Education