Research Finds Wind Turbine Improve Crop Quality

Photo courtesy of Carleton College
Wind turbines are most commonly used as a way to create renewable energy on existing farmland in the United States. However, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory reports wind turbines also help keep corn and soybean crops cool and dry which means they are less likely to get fungal infestations.
Ames Laboratory associate and agricultural meteorology expert Gene Takle spoke at the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco on the subject. “We’ve finished the first phase of our research, and we’re confident that wind turbines do produce measurable effects on the microclimate near crops,” Takle said.
Takle worked alongside assistant professor of the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at the University of Colorado- Boulder, Julie Lundquist.
Lundquist’s team used a laser known as a lidar to measure winds and turbulence near the top tip of the blade as well as near Earth’s surface. “Our laser instrument could detect a beautiful plume of increased turbulence that persisted even a quarter-mile downwind of a turbine,” Lundquist said.
Both researchers state that the findings cannot prove anything yet, but scientifically the increased airflow suggests this is a highly realistic possibility. “The turbulence resulting from wind turbines may speed up natural exchange processes between crop plants and the lower atmosphere,” Takle said.
Not only can wind turbines help control the airflow and temperature of crops, but they can also effect crop moisture levels. The turbulence may dry the dew on plants that appears in early morning ultimately minimizing the time fungi can grow on plant leaves. It can also help farmers reduce the time and money spent on artificially drying crops.

This article courtesy of Farm Plus Financial.  For information regarding agricultural finance opportunities contact our offices at 866-929-5585. 

Written by: Melissa Warner / Farm Plus Financial staff writer