Did you know you can predict your plant’s behavior by measuring a unit called “degree days”?
Plant development is dependent on environmental temperature, and between a crop-specific minimal temperature up to a maximal temperature, their development is quite linear. It takes a specific amount of heat to get the seed from germination to the first true leaf, then another amount of heat from there to flowering, and so on… Degree days represent the number of daily hours above a certain temperature and can be calculated and summed up in order to predict when a crop will reach a certain growth stage. In today’s changing climatic conditions, degree days can explain a lot of the changes we see in crops’ behavior and help us predict how they will behave in the future.
Degree days also affect insect behavior and weed development; you can predict when a certain pest will reach a growth stage in which it will attack your crop, or when seeds of a certain weed will germinate and emerge from the soil. Knowing these in advance allows you to prepare and schedule your irrigation activities.
Learning to use degree days is a bit like seeing the future; you can know when things are going to happen before they happen and be prepared for them.