Email Alert Service Notifies Land Managers about Drought and Cattle Heat Stress Conditions

Beef cattle seeking shadeSeveral climate datasets and forecast products exist, but agriculture and forestry professionals do not have the time, resources, or specific technical knowledge to frequently consult, integrate, and synthesize this information. The Eastern Threat Center-hosted USDA Southeast Regional Climate Hub (SERCH) is making climate and forecast information accessible at the right time and place for management decision relevancy with SERCH LIGHTS, an email alert service based on spatial and temporal alert criteria and multiple datasets that create additional insights into climate impacts on working lands. One SERCH LIGHTS alert focuses on a monthly forecast of drought development or intensification from the NOAA Monthly Drought Outlook product; another focuses on a daily cattle heat stress product developed by the USDA Agricultural Research Service and NOAA National Weather Service. Both alerts include links to decision support tools and other resources for mitigating potential impacts. USDA field staff and university and extension communities with local-scale expert knowledge who receive the alerts can connect the information to foresters, farmers, ranchers, and other land managers across the region. As part of the Hub’s support strategy to ensure that its research, outreach, and education components are well-aligned with managers’ needs, an ongoing dialog with the alert audience and exchange of feedback about the alert’s utility help Hub staff to identify important research questions and revisit potential topics for future development. More information and subscription forms are available at http://www.serch.us/lights/cattle-heat-stress and http://www.serch.us/lights/subscribe.

Pictured: Beef cattle seek shade at the USDA Agricultural Research Service-led silvopasture experiment located at North Carolina State University Center for Environmental Farming Systems’ Cherry Research Farm. The SERCH LIGHTS cattle heat stress alert tool warns livestock producers when temperature and humidity conditions put their animals at risk. Photo by Jennifer Moore Myers, U.S. Forest Service


External Partners/Collaborators:
Agricultural Research Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, North Carolina State University

Contact: Steve McNulty


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