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Australian Wool Innovation Limited
Emily King
Manager, Woolgrower Education & Capacity Building
ARTICLES >> Property Case Studies

Managing climate risk: the new age of dynamical modelling

Posted by Bestprac on Apr 28 2014

A new age of dynamical modelling for seasonal outlooks has been introduced by the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) and will provide farmers, who are keen to accurately manage their climate risk, a new valuable tool for informed decision making.

Bestprac’s newest Innovation Case Study profiles how pastoral wool producer, James Walker, is using dynamical modelling in his pastoral business. The case study and supporting video can be found below.

Download the written case study here

Overview of the case study

James, with his wife Manny and brother Daniel, operate two properties in central Queensland, Wakefield and Camden Park, producing wool, cattle and hay.

James didn’t trust former statistical weather forecasts based on historical snapshots. He said, “After doing research, I realised there wasn’t anything robust or accurate enough to make a confident appraisal on long term weather to support strategic decision making.”

James learnt about the physics based dynamical weather model the “Predictive Ocean Atmosphere Model for Australia” (POAMA), from Dr Andrew Watkins, Manager of Climate Prediction Services at the BOM. Andrew said, “Historical weather patterns are changing, therefore, these are becoming less of a guide to the future, making real time modelling increasingly important.”

For James, making decisions based on POAMA modelling has already helped. In October 2012, as a result of a neutral dynamical outlook or a 50-50 chance of getting average rainfall, they destocked some of their cattle. This decision paid off when a very late and a poor ‘wet season’ set in. 

Some of the benefits of POAMA for farmers include:

  • Accuracy: The model is physics based and findings show that it is more accurate than the historical statistical model it has replaced.
  • Managing risk: Farmers have access to long range climate outlooks, designed to help them make informed farming decisions.
  • Reliability: BOM have been fine tuning dynamical modelling for more than a decade. It is now more reliable than ever.

James encourages all producers to be aware of the new modelling. He says, “There is a lot of information at your disposal and once you develop an understanding of the model and how it can be localised to your farming area and practices, it’s a valuable tool and really quite simple to use.”

The principles developed within this Case Study can be applied to other pastoral businesses.

Bestprac is an Australian Wool Innovation Limited extension network. Please visit the Bestprac website for more information about this network –


Last changed: Apr 30 2014



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