U.S. Department of Agriculture agronomist Greg McMaster works at the Agricultural Research Service in Colorado and has created a computer software program that tells farmers when to spray pesticides. His decision to create the software came from answering calls from farmers and ranchers wondering when to spray their crops. PhenologyMMS – Modular Modeling System – predicts the timing of plant growth stages – telling farmers and ranchers how their crop is progressing and when pesticides, fertilizers and water should be applied.
McMaster’s program is unique because it covers a variety of crops – including corn, wheat and barley – and provides common pesticide names along with the scientific names – making it easier to use for farmers and ranchers. All farmers have to do is answer questions about their planting date and soil moisture level at planting time. Then – the program simulates crop growth stages for the entire season. Farmers can download the program at www dot ars dot usda dot gov (www.ars.usda.gov/services/software/download.htm?softwareid=238).

NAFB News Service