Authors: Mary Knapp, Christopher Redmond, Dan Regier, Ignacio Ciampitti

Degree days have been featured on the Kansas Mesonet page since the beginning. However, the reports were limited to the growing season (April-October) and to corn and sorghum. The new Degree Days page – http://mesonet.k-state.edu/agriculture/degreedays/ – is designed to provide greater flexibility to our users, including options to select the time period and more built-in calculations. Because of the flexibility, it is somewhat more complicated than the old version. Here’s a run-down of the new features.



If you have different fields with different planting dates, you can adjust the time frame to match the timing of your operations. For example, using the Silver Lake station below is a comparison of an April 15th planting date versus a May 15th planting date:

Applications of the Mesonet Degree Day Calculation webpage

Taking corn as an example, this information can be useful to gauge the likelihood of a killing frost (high probability for frost by mid-October), which would result in a low test weight and high grain moisture content due to the shortening of the grain filling and drying down period. When planting too late (late May or June), utilization of a short corn maturity (CRM) hybrid will help the crop reach maturity at about the same time as a later-maturing hybrid planted early in the season. Thus, changing to a shorter CRM hybrid would reduce the risk of the corn being impacted by an early fall freeze.

Other potential applications include more precise estimation of crop phenology -- flowering and important growth stages -- for application of nutrients or chemicals, or for implementation of more timely management practices.

The tool presents very useful features and is quite user-friendly. Give it a try and use the tool to make informed management decisions in your operations:

If you have questions about the product, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Mary Knapp, Weather Data Library

Christopher Redmond, Kansas Mesonet

Dan Regier, Kansas Mesonet

Ignacio Ciampitti, Crop Production and Cropping Systems Specialist