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Australian Wool Innovation Limited
Emily King
Manager, Woolgrower Education & Capacity Building
ARTICLES >> Environment Weather Watch

Weather Watch - November 2011

Posted by Bestprac on Nov 22 2011

by Susan Carn

I’ve had a busy month talking about and learning more about climate. I spent two days at the Yorke Peninsula Field Days representing the Climate Champion Program. We were privileged to share a stand with the Bureau of Meteorology, which worked really well.

The BOM have just put a “7 day Town Forecast” on their website and they were telling farmers at the field days about it. Have a look at this link and click on one of the SA towns for a quick snapshot, then click Detailed Forecast for a complete 7 day outlook for that area. Some states already have this service but WA, NT and QLD will have it on their BOM websites later.

I spoke to many croppers, who were worried about how the year would finish, and told them they weren’t alone! The BOM guys had decile charts of the local area which showed they were tracking at around decile 2, just like me in Quorn. I was surprised at this after seeing their crops looking really good in comparison to mine! However, I was reminded that their decile 2 is a lot more rain than my decile 2! (See last Weather Watch for more about deciles). On the second day the rain came, which was a real boost for a lot of SA farmers. Driving home, I got caught in a storm with torrential rain, but the rainbow after it was worth it!

Ben and I have recently returned from the Climate Champion Program annual “get together” in northern NSW and Queensland. It was a rather grueling 4 day schedule of workshops and farm visits, with long bus trips in between, but well worth it. Seeing and hearing about farms so different from our own was really interesting, but at times we felt somewhat like the “poor cousins” – especially when touring the Darling Downs and were told there was 100 metres of top soil!

We got to know the other CCP participants better; three in particular, when we visited their farms and were shown firsthand how they are adapting to climate variability while still remaining profitable. However the drive from Toowoomba to the Lockyer Valley was rather somber, as this was the area most affected by the terrible floods in January. One of the farm visits was to Linton Brimblecombe’s property where, although life and his vegetable growing business seem to be almost back to normal, I think the destruction and tragedy from those days will be felt for a long time.

During the workshops we were given presentations by researchers on topics such as: The science of climate change, Adapting to change in highly variable and changing environments, and we looked at modeling software which could help to evaluate enterprise options when adapting to climate change.

One very important message we took home was that we can’t keep farming the same way we’ve always done. There is still money to be made but we must become opportunistic and flexible – not calendar driven. By adapting to variability, we not only improve our business now, it will be in the best shape to cope with future climate change.

We also received updates from the Bureau of Meteorology about stream-flow forecasts for irrigators, multi-week climate outlooks and we were asked for our input on the future development of a “Climate Analyser App”! (I must get a new “smart” phone!).

It was all very interesting stuff and very heartening to find there is so much research going on out there which will help keep farmers farming, not only now but in an uncertain future.

Last changed: Feb 09 2012



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