The Importance of Farmers Keeping Rainfall Records

The Importance of Farmers Keeping Rainfall Records

The central, north-central, eastern, southern, and north-eastern regions of Namibia have received some showers, marking the beginning of the 2023/24 rainy season.

Farmers often get excited and carried away by rain as it is an essential resource that enables them to cultivate cereal grains, like maize, pearl millet (mahangu) and sorghum.

Additionally, rainfall replenishes vegetation which is used by livestock, and replenishes underground water, making it available in boreholes and wells.

As the rainy season continues in Namibia, a lot of farmers are still not keeping track of the amount of rainfall they receive.

This lack of record-keeping leads to poor planning for the dry season, and when there is too little rainfall, many farmers experience crop failure and livestock mortality due to inadequate preparation.

Keeping a record of the amount of rainfall one receives is essential in farming.

It serves as a performance indicator and helps farmers prepare for the next season.

For instance, if a farmer’s area received an annual average rainfall of 350mm during the past rainy season, the farmer could use this data to identify rainfall patterns for that year, the intensity of the rainfall, and its distribution in each month.

This information could assist in planning for the upcoming rainy season and enable farmers to have mitigation strategies in place in case of low rainfall.
It’s also important for farmers to stay updated on weather forecasts during the rainy season to maximise the benefits of rainfall.

With the availability of technology, farmers could utilise weather forecasting apps to monitor the weather outlook for a specific week or month.

This would help them to determine when to expect rainfall and its intensity.

An example of one of these apps is Microsoft Weather.

It can be used to check weather forecasts for each month during the rainy season.

It informs farmers of the expected number of rainy and dry days in a month.

This information is essential for crop producers who rely on rainfall to grow their crops.

For livestock farmers, it could be helpful in determining whether regrowth would be satisfactory, or whether new grass would be scorched by the heat.

It is therefore important to track and record rainfall as a preparatory strategy for erratic rainfall due to climate change.

In the long run, rainfall records could help both farmers and disaster risk management agencies to mitigate the risks associated with above normal and below average rainfall.

A farmer who keeps rainfall records has a better chance of making informed decisions on which crops to grow and how many livestock can be kept under the traditional extensive grazing production system.

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