Climate Corp. rolls out new products for 2014 for enhanced crop management.

Managing weather risk has been a solid business for The Climate Corporation, which got its start five years ago marketing risk management products that paid on losses hitting farmers based on complex weather models. The company evolved into a full-fledged marketer of crop insurance, and starting this month, it’s branching out with two new products for farmers: Climate Basic, which is free, and Climate Pro, which is a fee-based service.

Climate Basic can help farmers track conditions in a field and keep them better informed about decisions on the go. And it’s available either online or as a mobile app to download to their phone. “They can get to all of the information on their farm,” says James Ethington, vice president of products, Climate Corp. “And that will continue to be offered free.”

Ethington explains that farmers see the value of the weather information they can get through Climate Basic, and it is “hugely valuable information they need to make decisions.”

With Climate Basic, farmers can track weather for their location — which the company is well-known for having online. Once farmers register to use the service, they can also track crop growth stages for their area and log scouting activities on their farm. They can even set up alerts for weather events happening in their fields.

Those alerts can range from precipitation in a specific region to hail notification when detected for a field. For example, if you set a specific amount of rain for a field, you can get a text alert on your phone when rainfall exceeds that level.

Going Pro

While Climate Basic offers a range of services for free, stepping up to Climate Pro gives access to various crop-modeling tools. Ethington says farmers will have access to more complex information for decisions about planting, nitrogen management, and pest and disease management that will help with crop decision-making.

“Farmers can drill into each decision,” he says. “There is information about the cost-benefit analysis of a decision around a particular practice, or how to treat a disease, and it’s tied into one, central, easy-to-use framework.”

The system builds on what Ethington calls the Climate Technology Platform, which has three pillars. The first is hyper-local weather monitoring, which offers a “high degree of accuracy and resolution, and what’s happening in each of those fields, including rainfall, temperature, wind speed and humidity.”

The second pillar is agronomic modeling that uses that data to show what’s happening in the field. “We’re modeling for a particular crop, for a particular soil in that field, and how it will play out for the crop,” he says.

And finally, there’s a weather-simulation pillar the company has been doing since it started. The system can project an entire growing season for possible outcomes as it relates to weather. Pulling together a range of weather information, Ethington says, it can look at what’s “likely to happen with weather this year.”

Cost for Climate Pro is $15/acre for corn and $7.50/acre for soybeans. Learn more at climate.com.