A weather station in the AgriMet Cooperative Agricultural Weather Network was installed at OSU’s Woodhall Vineyard in late October 2020. The weather station will provide critical weather information and a climatic archive of weather conditions for the south Willamette Valley location. This is an important service for Oregon State University to provide grape growers, other agriculturists, and the public. Woodhall Vineyard is one of several research farms owned and operated by Oregon State University and currently has research plots in wine grapes, olives, honeybees, and hops. The location is within Benton County and is surrounded by land used for forestry and commercial vineyards.
Installation of the weather station at this site provides publicly available weather data to an area of the Willamette Valley that was not previously represented by public weather stations. There is growing agricultural acreage in the area, including wine grape vineyards and hazelnut orchards, amongst other specialty crops. There are currently 4,323 acres of wine grapes in the south Willamette Valley, the third- largest production region in the state, outside of the north Willamette Valley and the Rogue Valley, both of which have access to local AgriMet weather stations. Most producers in the south Willamette Valley either did not have access to weather data from nearby or had to rely on AgriMet stations in Corvallis, Roseburg, or purchase weather stations to install on-site. Many producers are farmers of smaller acreage who are not likely to install weather stations due to cost and/or cannot maintain them properly. We encourage farmers to use weather data to determine production risks, such as frost events, calculate growing degree days for pest and crop management, determine crop and location suitability, and estimate irrigation needs. Without this information, it is difficult for growers to make informed decisions on water use.
Placement of a weather station at OSU’s Woodhall Vineyard provides additional benefits of value to regional producers, including a hillside site that may better reflect weather conditions for hillside producers in the region than the Willamette Valley AgriMet stations located on the valley floor (i.e., Corvallis and Aurora). The land is publicly owned and managed by Oregon State University, so the location is available long-term. Finally, the southern Willamette Valley is being developed for both agricultural and residential land use, and the water demand is increasing. The vineyard is located within the Long Tom Watershed, which includes a community with growing concerns over groundwater depletion. This weather station will provide climatic information to help the local community understand water resource needs. Furthermore, the weather data is a part of a more extensive publicly available weather network available for research from local to international in scope.
You can access weather data from this station online here. The weather station installation and annual maintenance are funded by the Oregon Wine Research Institute at Oregon State University.