For Immediate Release

Heat Units in Cotton now being tracked at

Cary, North Carolina – July 10, 2007 – Cotton farmers have a new Internet-based tool to track heat units being accumulated by their cotton. The new website,, provides a daily update of heat units experienced this growing season and compares these values with long-term climate norms. The web service also forecasts heat units for the next seven days, based on overnight updates to weather forecasts.

By selecting the date of planting and the nearest weather station, the web service calculates heat units for each day since planting and also calculates a running total of heat units accumulated for the season. The heat units calculations are based on Degree Days 60 (DD60). 

It also compares the heat units for this season with long-term averages, enabling an evaluation of this season with climatic norms. Long-term climate data is utilized from 65 locations across the cottonbelt, with each location having daily temperature records for at least 30 years.

"Cotton farmers, and their advisors, often use weekly reports by state university extension services as an information resource for tracking heat units," says Robert Ratliff, creator of the web service. "By utilizing an online web service that updates temperature and heat units overnight, farmers and their advisors now have a resource to check daily, rather than weekly. The addition of a seven-day forecast extends the information resource beyond just a review of the past, by adding a prediction of the future."

"Most farm chemicals used in cotton growth management have a range of application rates based on the growth stage of the crop, temperature experiences and forecasts, and other local growing conditions," explains Ratliff. "By reviewing past growing conditions and the forecast for the next seven days, the application rates and timing can be made based on a greater understanding of the current growing environment, resulting in greater performance from chemicals used as growth regulators, boll openers and leaf defoliants."

The website also displays animated radar, satellite images, seven day narrative and graphic forecasts, rainfall histories and forecasts, plus charts of forecasted temperatures, relative humidity, wind speed and other weather forecast data.

The heat units calculator is also available from cell phones with Internet access by keying the web address on the cell phone keypad. Due to the small display size of a cell phone, temperatures and heat units are limited to the past seven days and the next seven days.

It is suggested the computer version be utilized first for a comprehensive understanding of heat units being accumulated. Thereafter, the cell phone version can be utilized when access to a computer is not convenient, such as decision making in the field.

(Screen Shot of the Heat Units Calculator)
Screen Shot of the Heat Units Calculator

For more information, visit the website at or contract one of people listed below.

Angela Bendorf Jamison
Communicopia Marketing Services, Inc.
215 S. White Street, Suite 5
Wake Forest, NC 27687
office (919) 827-1689
vcard AngelaBendorfJamison.vcf 
Robert Ratliff Corporation
102 Painted Fall Way
Cary, NC 27513-3526
office (919) 481-9309 or mobile (919) 414-7588
vcard RobertRatliff.vcf