Cornell Climate Smart Farming Tools

CSF tools combine weather and climate data with agricultural models; updated daily

Screenshot of the CSF Growing Degree Day Calculator, showing the start of the 2018 growing. (Courtesy Photo)

Cornell’s Climate Smart Farming Program Decision Tools ( are ready for farmers to start entering data to track the 2018 growing season.

The Cornell Climate Smart Farming (CSF) Program’s Growing Degree Day Calculator and Water Deficit Calculator are ready for farmers to start entering their farm-specific data into the tools, with the start of  the 2018 season on March 1, 2018. The CSF tools combine weather and climate data with agricultural models, and are updated on a daily basis to create accurate projections, available for any farmer to use for free, by entering their zip code or farm location, anywhere in the Northeastern United States (from West Virginia to Maine).


The Growing Degree Day Calculator tracks growing degree days accumulated since a user-provided starting (planting) date, and forecasted accumulation for the next six days. Reference values are also included for average and extreme accumulations observed throughout the existing period of record.

The Water Deficit Calculator estimates the current and forecasted water deficit in the effective root zone for specific crops, soil types, and, when applicable, irrigation events. Water deficits are also categorized to estimate when plant stress is expected to occur. In addition to data for the current growing season, historical data are available since 2002 so that users may explore results from previous growing seasons and even test the effects of irrigation applications during previous years. The CSF Program has also released version 2.0 of several core tools in recent months. The Growing Degree Day Calculator and Water Deficit Calculator each have a new interface and faster performance.

All farm-specific data are entered in the left-hand side of each tool, and graphical output for that farm is
then provided. New versions of the Apple Stage/Freeze Damage Probability Tool and the Grape Hardiness and Freeze Risk Tool have been monitoring conditions during the winter, and continue to do so as the season transitions into spring. Additionally, the Winter Cover Crop Planting Scheduler has an updated user-interface, and we are also looking forward to including seasonal forecasts in the New York State/Northeast Drought Atlas this spring.


According to one farmer who was recently introduced to the CSF tools: “I now have a better understanding of ways to help farmers work with climate changes for the growing season, as there are tools to help try to forecast the future possibilities.”

The CSF program partners with the Northeast Regional Climate Center (NRCC) at Cornell University, part of the RCC Program administered by NOAA in the United States. The tools rely on the NRCC-led data through the Applied Climate Information System (ACIS), which is an operational system that provides access to climate data and products to users via web services, and is replicated at multiple RCCs throughout the country.

The CSF Tools also utilize daily temperature observations from the National Weather Service (NWS) Cooperative Observer Network, and daily precipitation derived from NWS radar data. These data are interpolated to a 4km X 4km grid following the methods of DeGaetano and Belcher (2007), and DeGaetano and Wilks (2009), respectively. This use of interpolated gridded data allows farmers in the region to access accurate information for their farm via the CSF DSTs, even if there is not a governmentoperated or private weather station near their site.