An innovative network of Prairie farm-based weather stations is
now monitoring grain-loading conditions for vessels at ports.
The Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) has installed a
WeatherBug® weather station above the loading dock of
Thunder Bay’s Mission Terminal, where it will keep track of live
conditions, like rainfall and wind speed, that affect loading of
Prairie grain onto ships.
“The rate of rain is the important factor when deciding
whether a ship can open its hatches to load,” said Mission
Terminal manager Paul Kennedy. “This weather station has a real
purpose in terms of our business operations. The more efficient
we can be in managing loading times, the better for everyone.”
Additional benefits for port authorities and shipping lines
include leveraging localized weather conditions for port
forecasting, which can improve planning of stevedore hires and
decrease charges or penalties incurred for delays due to
CWB weather network manager Guy Ash said farmers also
benefit from loading efficiencies that improve service to grain
customers and keep costs down. “Our vision for this weather
network is to help farmers maximize their returns all along the
supply chain,” he said. “That’s why we’re working with our
partners to expand it from Prairie farms and grain elevators to
ports. For the grain industry, it’s extremely important at every
stage to access weather reports that are highly localized and
Richardson International Limited installed WeatherBug
weather stations last summer at all its port loading facilities,
which include Thunder Bay, Vancouver, Hamilton and Sorel,
Quebec — expanding from 60 weather monitors already
installed at Richardson Pioneer Ag Business Centres across
Western Canada.
“By collecting and sharing data from the weather stations, we
are better positioned to help producers with important crop
management decisions and improve our operations in grain
sourcing and shipping,” said Kevin Jacobson, director of
corporate communications for Richardson International. “It
solidifies Richardson’s ongoing commitment to develop the most
efficient pipeline of grain movement in Western Canada.”
The CWB, WeatherBug Professional and Richardson
International launched the weather network in August 2007.
Since then, it has grown rapidly to encompass almost 500
stations across the Prairies. WeatherBug director of business
development, Jim Anderson, said the move to ports is a natural
“With the continued support of our partners in Canada, we
can build a national network that not only helps farmers, but
also schools, emergency managers, media outlets and other
businesses,” he said. “WeatherBug networking technology has
been proven to yield breakthrough benefits for business
operations and help safeguard property and lives.
“We have the technology to revolutionize the way weather
information is gathered and shared in Canada.”